Berrett-Koehler Discussion Guide for
Leadership and Self-Deception Getting Out of the Box
by The Arbinger Institute
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1. Imagine the following simple situation. A senior manager has information that she knows would be useful to another manager in the firm. She has the thought to share it with him . . . but she doesn't.
* What is this act called (the act of failing to do what she feels she should do)?
* What is the relationship between this act and being in the box?
* What is the relationship between being in the box and self-deception?
* What attitudes and thoughts do you now expect this senior manager to begin having? (Identify as many characteristics you can.) How might you expect her to begin behaving toward the other manager?
2. Now imagine that the other manager, taking offense and feeling slighted, retaliates. Perhaps he withholds information from her, or ignores her, or speaks to her sarcastically, or complains to others about her, or in some other way punishes her.
* Now where is this manager? How did he get there?
* How does the senior manager see him and what he is doing? What "proof" does it give her?
* What is the interaction between these two managers called? Why?
* Stuck in this interaction, both managers will claim that the only thing they want is for the other one to change-to stop creating problems. Why isn't this the full truth?
* What are these two people focused on? What aren't they focused on?
* What self-justifying ../../images might these people have-what boxes might they have been carrying around with them even before this simple incident?
3. Suppose now that the senior manager decides to correct the problem between the two of them.
* Why won't "coping" with the other manager correct the problem?
* Why isn't "communicating" the answer?