Self-betrayal happens every time you fail to uphold your values and beliefs. It may occur when you: fail to remember an employee’s name; fail to check home to see how your sick son or daughter is doing; don’t recognize your employee’s birthday; fail to open the door for the person beside you; take the biggest slice of pizza or pie for yourself; take the best seat in the movie theater over your spouse or significant other.
Alone, not one of these examples is significant and yet, over time, you begin to disappear as the person you know yourself to be. You may begin to justify your selfish decisions. You start to hear yourself say, “I deserve it” or “I worked hard for it.” Inside, you know that this is justification–unless you have been doing it so long you no longer remember what is the right thing to do.
Over time, you begin to believe that your view of the world is correct and those around you are incorrect; you are the solution and those around you are the problem. This inflated view helps you continue to act badly with others and not recognize that you’re behaving that way.
Here are three ways that self-betrayal might be affecting your leadership:
- Loss of Resilience – You are not open to all the possibilities around you, which constrains your organization’s ability to adapt and be resilient.
- Lack of Engagement – Your people are likely resentful of your behavior and feel blamed by you for things that are likely not their doing.
- Lack of Accountability – Your team has likely become so protective of themselves that they are acting defensively and judgmentally towards you and their co-workers.
Once you have gone down this path, it’s hard to return to your old self. You will need someone who is not afraid to reflect back these self-betraying behaviors and how they are showing up with those you work with in your organization and personal life.