Have you ever asked yourself the question, how do I treat people?
Take that one step further and ask, how do OTHERS think I treat people?
Those are two very difficult questions we rarely, if ever, ask ourselves as we journey through life. And regardless if we do, we seldom answer honestly.
I recently finished reading a book called Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute. In it, they summarize why the two questions above will probably never be answered truthfully.
“Whether at work or at home, self-deception obscures the truth about ourselves, corrupts our view of others and our circumstances, and inhibits our ability to make wise and helpful decisions.”
Here’s where I think the problem really is. Far too often, we treat people like objects rather than people. A commodity if you will, that we believe to be dispensable rather than valuable.
This stems from the self-deception we create about ourselves and how we ultimately treat other people. That inability to look in our own backyard and see in ourselves what the world sees of us.
It’s that self-deception which prohibits us from identifying our inability to treat people like people. Most of the time we probably don’t even realize it.
From the preface of Leadership and Self-Deception: “The reason this book has been so instrumental in helping people to resolve conflict is that it opens readers to how they have helped to create the very problems they have attributed to others. This is the essence of the self-deception solution— discovering how each of us has the problem of not knowing we have a problem.”
So, how do you treat people? Would you say you’re fair, compassionate, appreciative, respectful and mindful?
Chances are you probably answered “yes” to all of the above. Now consider the following quote from Leadership and Self-Deception.
“The most effective leaders lead in this single way: by holding themselves more accountable than all.”
Now ask yourself the questions again – how do you treat people? And THIS time, try not to deceive yourself.