Leadership & Self-Deception

This is a good book. For two main reasons.

Reason #1: it frames leadership as being part of being in a relationship to others and to the environment (vs. simply “influencing others”).

From the Introduction:

“To give you an idea of what’s at stake, consider the following analogy. An infant is learning how to crawl. She begins by pushing herself backward around the house. Backing herself around, she gets lodged beneath the furniture. There she thrashes about, crying and banging her little head against the sides and undersides of the pieces. She is stuck and hates it. So she does the only thing she can think of to get herself out—she pushes even harder, which only worsens her problem. She’s more stuck than ever. If this infant could talk, she would blame the furniture for her troubles. After all, she is doing everything she can think of. The problem couldn’t be hers. But of course the problem is hers, even though she can’t see it. While it’s true that she’s doing everything she can think of, the problem is precisely that she can’t see how she’s the problem. Having the problem she has, nothing she can think of will be a solution.”
The Arbinger Institute (2010-01-11). Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box . Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Reason #2: it talks about leadership as being a fundamental stance you take towards others (vs. being just a question of  skills or techniques). It reminded me of “I & Thou” by Martin Buber.

“Either I’m seeing others straightforwardly as they are—as people like me who have needs and desires as legitimate as my own—or I’m not. As I heard Kate put it once: One way, I experience myself as a person among people. The other way, I experience myself as the person among objects. One way, I’m out of the box; the other way, I’m in the box. Does that make sense?”
The Arbinger Institute (2010-01-11). Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box (p. 37). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.
I highly recommend the book.
Despite our best efforts, all of us, at least some of the time, are “in the box”.