Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Leadership & Self-Deception

Just finished reading Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the box by The Arbinger Institute. Its analysis of self-deception and the way in which interpersonal conflicts are fostered and intensified was excellent. Very helpful analysis of anger, bitterness, resentment, and the way in which we use others' faults to excuse our own.

The major philosophical idolatry of the book is its focus entirely upon self-betrayal rather than the betrayal of God. This idolatry is also evident in its assumption of the basic "goodness" of man - assuming that we basically want to treat others well and simply deceive ourselves into doing different. Further, the emphasis upon our instinct or feelings as a reliable source of action is naive. These instincts are formed by the culture in which we live which itself is saturated with religous assumptions. Given different cultures, different things will be instinctual - strike us as truly "humane." Hence, it is imperative that we have some ethical standard which guides and directs our instincts else we may do something inhumane in the name of humanity. "The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel" (Prov 12:10b).

Despite these underlying flaws, the book's usefulness far outweighs its faults. It is engaging, informative, and easy to understand.