Knowledge Management Concepts – Leadership & Self Deception

There has been a veritable flood of articles recently into my RSS feed reader (Google Reader!) on how to deal with a bad boss. Having dealt with my fair share of them, I’ve learned that negativity never works. So, what makes a good boss? Having never been one, I don’t have a lot of experience in this area. However, one of my favorite books on the subject is from the Arbinger Institute, titled Leadership and Self Deception.

Self-deception is a deceptively simple idea. We change the ‘story’ of what happens to us and around us to suit the image we have of ourselves at the time. We then act to justify our perception of the situation, missing the essential fact that we may be the problem.

So how does this apply to Knowledge Management? The culture and practices of a company can often be traced back to executives, current and former, who perceived problems and acted to ‘correct’ those problems. A perception of malingering on the part of employees likely resulted in restrictive time management, internet use or vacation policies to name only a few.


1. In a Knowledge Audit, look into the history of the company. What is the source of any policy that strikes you as unusual or restrictive?

2. Think about a business situation in which you made a serious mistake. How do you think your boss viewed that mistake? What can you infer from your supervisor’s actions? How did you view that mistake?


John Baldoni -Live Standards, Don’t Just Talk About Them

Read some more of John Baldoni on the Harvard Business School blogs