After a frustrating evening of not being able to hear our dinner companions, my husband had his hearing checked. He came home boasting that his hearing was fine and later admitted that he may have cheated on the test.
You see, whenever my husband was unsure if he heard a tone, he hit the buzzer that indicated he could hear the sound. Lord only knows how many times he did this throughout the test!
That got me thinking. How many times a day, week, or month do we lie to ourselves?
My guess is more times than we’d care to admit.
Here are some typical lies leaders tell themselves.
- We can do this on our own. If you could do something on your own, then you would have done so already. It’s okay to use outside help, especially when something isn’t in your wheelhouse, or you don’t have the time or the personnel to get necessary items done.
- Things will get better; I just need to be patient. I’ve been in business for over 30 years, and rarely do bad situations get better on their own. In fact, left unattended, these situations usually get worse. If you’re ignoring a problem like your company’s inability to fill job openings and think this situation will resolve itself, then you’re only fooling yourself. It won’t.
- If we dramatically decrease our spending, our business will grow faster. Can you name one company that experienced dramatic growth by cutting back? I can’t.
A study by McGraw-Hill Research of 600 companies across 16 industries revealed that companies who increased or kept their marketing budget the same had more sales growth during and even three years after the recession. Companies that focused on aggressive recession marketing grew by 256%, unlike those that slashed or eliminated their advertising budget.
It might seem counterintuitive, but your company can experience tremendous gains by investing more in your business during unsettling times than if you scale back.
- If we hire a big-name consulting firm, our problems will be solved. Bringing in the big guns and paying more for something doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll get the desired results. Shop around and find a partner who is invested in helping you solve your challenges and does so in a way that makes sense for your organization.
- I’ll get the next promotion because my work speaks for itself. If only life were that simple. Why is it that the work of talented artists like Van Gogh was never acknowledged until years after these people passed? I don’t know about you, but I’d like to be recognized for my contributions while I’m still on this planet.
If you want to be heard in a sea of cubicles, you must toot your own horn so others know the value you’re adding to an organization. You need to master the art of shamelessly promoting yourself. If you don’t, the next promotion at work will surely go to someone who does.
- If I wait it out, maybe this employee will quit. Yeah, and maybe I’ll win the Powerball tonight. Keep dreaming. If you’re conflict avoidant and you’re not addressing employee performance issues head-on, you’re the one who may end up quitting—or worse, getting fired. Performance issues rarely go away on their own. You must take action. If you’re uncomfortable with challenging conversations, read Can We Talk? Seven Principles for Managing Difficult Conversations at Work.
- We just can’t find and retain the right people. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to find and hire people “just like you.” Your company will never successfully attract or retain talent until you start building your teams to be complementary.
Your hiring issues may not be about who you are hiring, but what you do after they start. Team members must be appropriately on-boarded, trained, and given feedback so people can excel and the team can gel.
This list is not an all-inclusive list of lies leaders tell themselves.
What is the lie that you keep telling yourself?
Once you identify and address this lie, you’ll be amazed at the progress you can make towards achieving whatever you put your mind to.