Tag Archives: ethics and hypocrisy

Hypocrisy Is Deep-Rooted in Most Organizations: Its the Greatest Threat to Effective Leadership…

In many organizations, hypocrisy is deeply rooted and entrenched as acceptable behavior… According to Jim Clemmer; hypocrisy is the practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness... The word has roots in part from a Greek word meaning, ‘to play a part, pretend’… I have come to believe that there are two types of hypocrisy: 1. Deceiving or being untrue to others… 2. Deceiving or being untrue to oneself… The first type of hypocrisy is detestable: It’s an intentional attempt to fool others… The second type is sad: it’s an unintentional to fool oneself…

Hypocrisy has been called; the compliment that vice pays to virtue… According Francois de La Rochefoucauld; this means that when you are being hypocritical you are in essence acknowledging that a virtue is worthy of emulating, and you want to appear virtuous, even though you aren’t actually acting virtuously… This seemly innocent connection accepts hypocrisy as a necessary part of social exchange that takes place in workplaces… According to Ken Byler; most people are quick to recognize the empty talk of hypocritical leaders: Do as I say, not as I do! Research suggests that many organizations encourage hypocrisy not only as a pragmatic virtue, but as a prescriptive one…

In the article Hypocrisy and Business by Bob MacDonald writes: Hypocrisy has become ingrained in business because it’s such a handy tool that makes one appear to be honest, fair, high-minded and moral without having to make the effort to be so. Those who practice this intellectual dishonesty fight hard to hide it, because when the contradiction between what was professed and what is performed is exposed, it becomes a cauldron of humiliation…

So why is so little of it exposed? For one thing, the reward for those in business who attempt to resist or expose hypocrisy is to end up on the ‘outs’ with the ‘ins’. Sure, exposing hypocrisy is easy, but if you want to keep your job or earn a promotion, it’s easier and certainly better to keep your mouth shut; to go along to get along, regardless of the kind of hypocrisy being practiced…

In the article Hypocritical Leadership by Art Markman writes: Hypocrisy doesn’t just undermine a leader’s authority, it can also directly threaten how the group functions. Psychologically, people need to trust that the organizations they belong to have their long-term interests at heart… Otherwise they become unwilling to make an effort on the group’s behalf… When employees feel an organization doesn’t value their contributions or isn’t committed to their growth or well-being, they start to distance themselves from it… Anyone who’s been in a toxic work culture knows what this feels like… And it isn’t always apparent when leaders are part of the toxicity– especially the most hypocritical of them…

In the article Don’t Be Hypocrite About Failure by Justin Brady writes: If you’re interested in human creativity and the invention process, you’ve heard it a thousand times, e.g.; fail fast to learn faster, failure is necessary to innovate, you must fail to succeed, blah blah blah... It’s time for leaders to open up about failure; act now, and don’t fail at failure… The truth is that majority of leaders are failure hypocrites; consider:

  • If you can’t admit failure, you cannot connect with your teamWhile it’s true that employees won’t want to discuss their own failures, they are more likely to connect with leaders who do… After all, a leader who has never failed is either a human anomaly or a liar…
  • If you can’t admit failure, you won’t learn from it: Failure is only positive when you learn something important from it and then make the necessary adjustments…
  • If you can’t admit failure, you won’t tolerate it from others: As much as leaders will openly say that failure must happen for innovation to be present… many will get upset at staff who fail or struggle…
  • If you can’t admit failure, you’ll find your own future failures tough to handle: Ignoring past failures makes moving on so much harder, when your next failure comes (and you know it will)…

In the article The Hypocrisy by Chuck Gallagher writes: Ordinary decency is boring; it’s more entertaining when hypocrites on moral pedestals fall from grace. Who doesn’t giggle when a moral authority gets caught? But you ought not to laugh too long. The smug satisfaction people get from watching hypocrites fall is just a short-step away from hypocrisy… Even members of the decent majority have moral blind spots…

According to Robert Kurzban; we readily detect hypocrisy in others but rarely see it in ourselves. We excuse our own moral failings while we condemn others. Moral self-deception is a coping mechanism and moral blame of others is a fun social activity… Most of people never commit felony, but many are guilty of indiscretions and busy judging others, e.g.; harbor unspoken animosities and minor lusts, let grudges fester, nurse secret resentments, turn blind eye to the needy, often laugh at those who need compassion… Hypocrites are those who are so busy judging others that they ignore their own moral failings… 

Genesis for corporate hypocrisy is the ubiquitous ‘mission statement’…   Full of lofty ideals, principles and objectives, the mission statement sounds wonderful and promises inviolate ethics, fairness and value for both customers and employees… According to Bob MacDonald; mission statements are hypocritical, and rarely do most managements adhere to their basic ideals and promises… More often than not, leaders tend to freelance the organization’s mission and just do what they feel is in best interests of the organization, irrespective of a mission statement.

Far too often corporate management embraces hypocrisy as a virtue and not a vice, because most managers lack courage to trust honesty or to exhibit real openness… Hypocrisy allows them to say one thing, knowing full well that they will do something else when it’s in their best interests to do so…  According to Jim Clemmer; it’s too easy to get confused by the images and appearances of leadership…

Too often we see leadership as doing and having. At that level, we can easily become leadership hypocrites… True leadership is being and becoming. Authentic leadership is from the inside out. When we are true to ourselves and actively blaze your own leadership pathway, it’s impossible to be a leadership hypocrite– despite how others think…