As a leader, you might be aware of when and how you are deceiving others, but you may be very unaware of the fact that you are deceiving yourself. Others see it but you don’t and could very well be living in the land of unreality. Here are some excellent thoughts from leadership freak, Dan Rockwell on how to know when you are guilty of self-deception.

Originally posted on January 1, 2015 by Dan Rockwell

You know when you deceive others, but you deceive yourself with a clear conscience.

Self-deception feels like honesty.

You beat yourself up when you should encourage yourself. Or, you let yourself off too easily. Don’t feel bad. It’s natural.

Self-reflection requires honesty.


  1. You’re always wrong. Everyone else is smarter and more talented.
  2. You’re always right. You don’t intentionally choose wrong. Who does? Of course you’re right.
  3. You deserve better. Self-justification blocks useful self-reflection.Employees pilfer because the company or boss has done them wrong. They deserve it.
  4. Defensiveness. Strong reaction to small disagreements, correction, or resistance points to self-deception.
  5. Blame. It’s always their fault. Self-help doesn’t work if everyone else needs the help.
  6. Entitlement. You deserve special treatment because you’re the boss.
  7. Martyrdom. No one cares as much or works as hard as you.


  1. Would you like to be your friend? Every once in awhile, my wife treats me like I’m treating her. I don’t like it.
  2. Reflect on your behaviors with values in mind, not other people. Self-reflection, that’s mostly about others, is self-deception.
  3. What does your controlling attitude say about you?
  4. Consider the opportunities of your weaknesses.
  5. Ask others what behaviors hold you back. A person who never sabotages herself has arrived. Chances are you haven’t.
  6. Explore the possibility that you’re wrong, if you’re the person who always feels right.
  7. Explore the possibility that you’re right, if you’re the person who always feels wrong.
  8. Explore the possibility that you’re partially right and partially wrong.
  9. Listen to frustrations. What do recurring frustrations say about you?
  10. What did you do yesterday that moved you toward greater service and fulfillment?
  11. Why, at the end of the day, do you wonder what you did all day?
  12. How are you moving toward personal goals? Honest self-reflection requires goals.

How might leaders deal with self-deception?

How might leaders move toward honest self-reflection?