Book: Leadership and Self-Deception.
Author: The Arbinger Institute
Category: Leadership & Self Development
Rating of the concept: 9/10

Concept: Getting out of the box.
Getting out of the box is about a very human way of reacting and thinking about other people. Even if you’re not into business, understanding the concept of getting out of the box will help you in many private and professional situations.

The box represents the mental borders we draw around ourselves, to protect ourselves, to set us apart from the rest of the world and justify our own actions. We see others more or less as people only when we are out of the box – and we see them in a systematically distorted way, as mere objects, when we are in the box.

The following short movie illustrates very well the main idea. It starts a bit silly but you will probably be able to relate to the funny situation we can practically see each day around us.

In summary, getting in the box is about self-betrayal. About convincing yourself that others are the source of the problem and not you. Think of Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis who made a frightening discovery in his hospital in the 19th century, explained in the movie below.

 Self betrayal

  1. An act contrary to what I feel I should do for another is called an act of “self-betrayal”.
  2. When I betray myself, I begin to see the world in a way that justifies my self betrayal.
  3. When I see a self justifying world, my view of reality becomes distorted.
  4. So-when I betray myself, I enter the box.
  5. Over time, certain boxes become characteristics of me, and I carry them with me.
  6. By being in the box, I provoke others to be in the box.
  7. In the box, we invite mutual mistreatment and obtain mutual justification. We collude in giving each other reason to stay in the box.

Comment BiB
It was only when I started working when I first heard about the notion of leadership, not at university. The more I heard about it, the more I realized there was a tremendous amount of definitions, research and books that existed around leadership. Looking at the Wikipedia definition, you directly find out how broad and old (eg Plato, Machiavelli) the study around leadership is:

Leadership has been described as ‘a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task’”.

 “Studies of leadership have produced theories involving traits, situational interaction, function, behavior, power, vision and values, charisma, and intelligence, among others.”

A fascinating topic to discuss but probably the most effective way to learn about leadership is to practice it. This book definitely is a good start. It confronts you with your hidden human reflexes and invites you for leadership.

For me leadership is about inspiring others to dream, to believe, to have the courage, and to act. Or like Anthony Robbins’ post last week where he paid tribute to one of the greatest leaders of our time who passed away (Nelson Mandela):

 “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -John Quincy Adams-