Detecting Deceitful Leaders
Have you ever had an uneasy feeling that a leader is not as genuine or sincere as you would expect? There are numerous signals and behaviors that distinguish a genuine leader from someone who is simply trying to achieve a personal—perhaps deceitful—agenda. If you observe carefully, you can find what is causing the uneasy feeling.
Listed in the following comparison are ways to distinguish between genuine leadership and a person in a leadership position who has hidden motives. Some behaviors are stated in the extreme— just to emphasize the point. Deceitful leaders are also very good at what they do, so observe them closely.
“Behaviors can distinguish a deceitful leader from a genuine leader.” -Bruce Rhoades
Comparison: True Leaders and Deceitful Leaders
- Leaders bring people together for common goals. Deceitful Leaders divide people and focus on narrow issues that may be part of an unstated, deceitful goal.
- Leaders encourage open, direct communication. Deceitful Leaders display a low tolerance for open communication. They control information.
- Leaders solicit and consider opposing views and positions. Deceitful Leaders exhibit little tolerance for opposing views. They may reject opposing views or ideas without consideration and limit debate.
- Leaders use larger goals to energize and unite people. Deceitful Leaders use divisive, negative characterization of issues and groups to energize followers.
“Leaders use larger goals to energize and unite people.” -Bruce Rhoades
- Leaders are transparent, have an open agenda and stated purposes. Deceitful Leaders carefully manage issues and what people hear. They often have a hidden agenda.
“Deceitful leaders carefully manage issues and what people hear.” -Bruce Rhoades
- Leaders stick to values, principles and ethical guidelines. Deceitful Leaders will use the “end justifies the means” to achieve objectives.
“Leaders stick to values, principles and ethical guidelines.” -Bruce Rhoades
- Leaders listen attentively. Deceitful Leaders talk more than listen. They occasionally shout or “preach.”
- Leaders show respect for each individual. Deceitful Leaders respect only those who are like-minded and disenfranchise those who are not like-minded.
“Deceitful leaders respect only those who are like-minded.” -Bruce Rhoades
- Leaders want individuals to thrive and work from principles and values. They encourage individual initiative. Deceitful Leaders want control and dutiful obedience; “punishing” those who are “out of line.” Individual initiative is rarely appreciated.
“Leaders want individuals to thrive and work from principles and values.” -Bruce Rhoades
- Leaders use facts and logic. Deceitful Leaders use emotions (with bias toward negative ones).
- Leaders share data and influence with clearly stated facts, options and conclusions. Deceitful Leaders state conclusions and positions with limited substance and fact. They may use charged rhetoric or misleading data.