Hypocrisy is the gap between what we say we believe and how we are actually behaving. A lot of leaders give lip service to diversity and inclusion, but then behave in ways that stifle dynamic participation.
If you call yourself an inclusive leader, yet your de facto test of whether or not people “fit” the culture is everyone gets along, or at least never questions or disagrees with you, then you have an integrity gap. In too many organizational cultures, “fit” means welcoming with open arms anyone that is willing to become just like one of us. Long faces, averted eye-contact, alienation and vilification are among the wages of those that just can’t seem to fit in.
Is the cohesion you think you see among your employees and peers a mirage? Is it possible that someone, maybe even you, has simply taught all those compliant faces that it’s safer to sit down and shut up than to risk full participation?
The next time you speak on behalf of your group and pronounce that “we” decided upon or agreed to something, ask yourself if anyone in the group would have a reason to say “we” does not include “me.” If you are insulated by a club of longtime friends or “trusted” advisors, it’s highly likely that your esteemed participative leadership is really just a charade.
Despite your eloquent rhetoric, if you are not responding to your folks in ways that encourage them to engage, then you are not really listening, and if you are not listening, then you really don’t care about anyone but yourself. The proof is in the behavioral pudding.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!
About the Author: Bret L. Simmons
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- Pretense | Bret L. Simmons - Positive Organizational Behavior | February 22, 2011