Deception is everywhere. The most ubiquitous example—advertising. No doubt you learned at an early age that marketers use all sorts of guises and even outright lies to trick you into buying their products. Not all advertising deceives as egregiously as the package illustrated in the comparison below.
Of course, advertising is not the only deceiver you regularly encounter. If you’re lucky, only a few of your peers, managers, suppliers, clients, and employees pursue hidden agendas, play victim, divert your attention, run guilt trips, divide loyalties, and even lie.
Deception does not always arise consciously or even intentionally. Unconscious psychological needs drive some people to deceive overtly with face-to-face anger, outright lies, intimidation, bullying, and their covert cousins: ignoring, sulking, pouting, and manipulative silence.
Either way, deceivers don’t fight fair. They don’t deal directly with the issues that challenge them. Instead, they work behind your back to achieve their objectives. Some of the most effective deceivers know you better than you know yourself. They exploit your lack of self-awareness and push the buttons that will most effectively upset you.
Understanding that your deceiver works at a disadvantage should help you deal with their attempts at deception rationally rather than taking offense and reacting just as unreasonably. But the most effective defense is accurate self-awareness.
Just as unconsciously, you get a feeling when you are the target of deception. It’s the feeling that something’s not right. The better and more accurately you know yourself, the clearer your vision of others. The more you free yourself of bias, prejudice, and self-delusions, the more clearly you perceive, the smarter you operate.
Just as the ad-aware consumer remains skeptical about marketing approaches, the intimate leader maintains healthy circumspection based on a deep and accurate understanding of self and others.
To learn a lot more about defeating deception and to practice the most effective ways to conquer your particular leadership challenges, I strongly recommend our CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach Program. At CoachQuest you will learn and practice the leadership skills you need to address alongside leaders like you from other organizations with many of the same challenges.