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The Hypocrites in Leadership

The self righteous exteriors of hypocrites covers the decay that is occurring from within.


My wife hears me talking to the TV when the news is on. “What a bunch of hypocrites!”  I am usually commenting on the politicians that are being interviewed and the interviewers as well. Then I will see a story about a thirty something CEO who is hailed as a genius and a progressive leader - only to find out he has been sexually harassing people in his firm.


We use the word hypocrite a lot without pausing to think through what makes someone a hypocrite. Here are some examples:


●      They do good things because they want people to see them doing good things.

●      They judge others and hold them to standards while falling short themselves.

●      They claim to care about people, but make decisions based on how they could benefit.

●      They punish their children for lying, yet they break their commitments to people at work.

●      They expect employees to work a full day, yet they consistently arrive late or leave early.

●      They condemn the moral failures of people with different political views, but ignore the failures of their political allies.


What we should all see in these examples is our own hypocrisy. 


When an addict starts The Twelve Step Program, the first step is to admit you have a problem. We need to be careful when we point fingers at others without pausing to look in the mirror.


Where are we being inconsistent? And how do we become consistent? 


First, You have to know what you stand for - your values - to avoid hypocrisy.


Second, you have to have the Courage to hold to your values even when doing so could make your life harder. You have to believe that deviating from those values will make you a hypocrite and someone you wouldn’t want to follow.


It is really easy to see the speck in the eye of a politician on TV and say “What a bunch of hypocrites!”  But if we are doing that while we have a log in our own eye, we are exactly like them - hypocrites.


Yes.  The hypocrites in leadership are frustrating. Their self-righteous exterior covers the decay that is occurring from within. But instead of just complaining about them, we need to use their example as a cautionary tale. We all can fall into hypocrisy in our lives if we don’t pay attention to our own thoughts, words, and actions. And the truth is, we are the only thing we can control in our lives.



●      What do you stand for?

●      Where are your actions inconsistent with your values?


Here is a quick assessment that will take you 5 minutes to figure it out. Nobody will ever see your results but you.


Warning: If you are not going to be honest with yourself this is a worthless assessment.

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