Sep 25, 2019 in Research

Leadership and Self Deception

Introduction

People often do mistakes; however, they are not eager to confess that they are the root of their problem. In order to find someone who could be guilty for their mistakes, they start blaming other people. For instance, when children are caught by a teacher on writing offensive words on the walls of the school, they typically blame someone who stands by them, but does not participate in the activity.

Blame – How Do We Blame Others?

In fact, stereotypes come from various sources, including the media, culture and family. They can be both inherited from society and be particular behaviors that are learned from own experience. As Ciadalini suggests, the main reason why people use stereotypes are cognitive short-cuts, which are also known as cognitive misers. Cognitive short-cuts mean that people take into account very little information about a subject or situation when making any decisions and conclusions. In terms of stereotyping, neuroscience is a great tool that can help to change an individual´s moral decision, which is proved scientifically on the example of the case with sugar and poison in Rebecca Saxe´s experiment.

The process of horribilizing someone works negatively for all parties that take part in the process. First and foremost, horribilizing ruins the reputation of a person who is horribilized. Second, this phenomenon does not give other people an opportunity to evaluate a person themselves since they have already heard that those people are ´a very lazy coach potato´. Finally, this process does not bring benefits to a horribilizer as well. The reason is that it is rather difficult to trust a person who spreads such slander and gossip about others. Very often, the process shifts from a descriptive to the absolute one, but horriblizers usually do not notice it. Descriptive horriblizing implies giving characteristics to individual´s actions. In contrast, absolute horriblizing is giving characteristics to a person basing on their actions. For example, one can say that a person drinks a lot, which is descriptive horriblizing, and one can say that a person is an alcoholic, which is absolute horriblizing. The last type of horriblizing has a rather blurred board with objectification. In fact, objectification means that a person becomes a labeled object. For instance, ´wonk´ is objectification for a person who studies hard, and ´stupid jock´ is used to name men who spend a lot of time doing sports or in the gym and have big muscles. However, being a hard-working sportsman does not necessarily mean to be stupid. Thus, as one can see, it is another stereotype.

Justification – What Triggers Our Blaming?

Psychological triggers for horribilizing are reasons why people start a process of horribilizing. It is a well-known fact that everything is done for some reason; therefore, the roots of horribilizing lie in human´s psychology. Among the psychological triggers for horribilizing, one can mention security and provide oneself better reputation in contrast to the person who is horribilized. Triggers work as the feeling of fear; thus, many people who are not self-confident try to horribilize others. In this way, they exceed their self-esteem as they look or seem better than the people they have just horribilized. Duality principle in a trigger predetermines that horibilizing might be viewed from two opposite perspective. For instance, security and spontaneity are two opposite phenomena. However, a trigger refers to none of them because it is only the transmitter of the phenomenon. A trigger may transform security into spontaneity or vice versa. The point is that duality principle works in two directions no matter the initial target. In this way, horibilizing should be viewed from two opposite sides because a trigger only a transformer of a dual action but not an action itself. For instance, affection and detachment introduce the opposite effects, but a trigger helps to analyze them from both perspectives because it connects them and becomes the bridge between these phenomena.

 

Horribilizing others, people improve their self-image because on the background of everything that they have said about a horribilized person they look much better than they really are. In the process of horribilizing, people usually depict themselves from the best possible side, objectifying themselves as a good friend, amazing woman, and perfect mother, among others.

Collusion

The dynamics of two people colluding in self-deception means that people who do not have any serious problems start making them out of nothing. In other words, they simply believe that they have them. One should realize that such cycle is rather negative as people live in a constant fight with their non-existing problems that they created themselves. When one says a ´resistive way of being´, it means that a person does not go with the flow and tries to fight against the problems which they have to face. In other words, an individual tries to resist the fact that they constantly create problems for themselves. Colluding with other people, an individual starts a process of blaming and justification. In this process, a person who blames someone finds justifications for themselves in order to show they are not guilty for the situation, while another person is absolutely culpable. Apparently, drawing other people in a circle is a rather easy but unnoticeable task. In fact, people can be drawn in the cycle even if they have connection to the situation. For instance, if a woman breaks her cup, it does not mean that there is someone to blame because obviously it is her own fault. However, it is much easier to blame someone for some actions. Blaming a person for what they have not done is drawing other people in the cycle. In actual fact, when people are in collusion or when they need to put their justifications over results, they want an event to occur to them even if it is rather harmful to them. The reason is that they want and need their justifications to be proved. In other words, they need to be right about their conclusions or suggestions, among others.

Perspective Taking

Both sympathy and empathy have almost similar meanings, since they indicate the feeling of compassion. However, these feelings are totally different. On the one hand, sympathy predetermines that a person who demonstrates it, commiserates with another individual. On the other hand, empathy means trying that person´s shoes and feeling all the pain that they feel. Thus, in the first case, it is simply a compassionate attitude to a person, while in the second case, an individual feels all the emotions and experiences the same feelings as another person does. Consequently, the power of vulnerability can be explained by the negative side of empathy. In other words, a person who experiences empathy to someone takes all the pain of that person on themselves, which makes them more vulnerable. However, leaders should not show their vulnerability because they will be rather feeble if other people are aware of their weak sides. Therefore, even if a leader has any weaknesses, they must never show them. It is important to remember and it is a great rule for all people, especially for leaders, to never show one´s weaknesses, since competitors will hit in this very place. Nevertheless, even this leadership style can be redefined so that it will invite employees´ commitment. In other words, if a leader shows vulnerability, their subordinates are supposed to feel at least sympathy for them. As a result, subordinates are supposed to work harder and create some useful ideas concerning a project in order to help their leader to cope with the existing situation.

In fact, it is very difficult to drop stereotypes because people are used to living with certain beliefs, traditions and customs. However, the easiest way to get rid of stereotypes for an individual is to become stereotyped. Indeed, such situation shows how absurd stereotypes sometimes are, and a person can feel it on their own skin.

People usually perceive another´s intent as something that is beneficial only for that person. In other words, people do not trust much other people; as a result, they perceive someone´s intent as a threat to them in any sphere of human being or as something that is really beneficial to that individual. Today, people tend to not believe that someone can do something for them simply to help and support them or to show their respect. For instance, as it is showed in the video where a ´homeless´ person gives money to strangers, only a few people understood the message correctly and did not get offended by it. In most cases, people perceive others as being predisposed to harm them. It is rather strange; however, people rather believe in bad intentions of people than in good ones. The reason is that in modern society, anger and rudeness became a norm, while politeness and generosity occurs rather rarely, which makes people surprised. One should consider such attitude to others´ intentions as a receptive way of being, since one can see that people make their conclusions about others basing both on stereotypes and what they see, namely their own life experience.

Conclusion

As one can see, blaming and justification are activities that take their roots in person´s psychology and sub-consciousness. People do not sit on a chair and think “Well, today I will blame my neighbor Harry”, they blame people because they try to defend themselves in this way, but sub-consciously.

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