Have you ever misled yourself as a leader? Who's willing to admit that? But I mean, really, ever deceived yourself and let your ego take you to that "bad place"?

You knew you were wrong, others knew you were wrong. And a voice inside -- a wrong voice -- told you to keep going? I ask these questions because self-deception is a seriously damaging thing at the root of a lot of conflict.

Here's what happens: We go through a process where we justify our false beliefs by blaming others; we control circumstances or people; and we deny the truth and our contributing role to the problem.

It's especially destructive at the top of the leadership food chain, where dominant egos dictate action.

If you're in the role of influencing others, and are in conflict, think this through: Self-deception that goes unchecked is blinding to the true source of a conflict. Further problem-solving and brainstorming for solution to defend your stance will only make matters worse at this juncture.

The problem: Self-deception creates this train wreck.

There are 5 unfortunate outcomes of self-deception found in people in leadership roles:

  1. It camouflages the truth about oneself.
  2. It corrupts your view of others and your circumstances.
  3. It crushes your credibility and the trust others have in you.
  4. It inhibits your ability to persuade others.
  5. It hinders wise decision-making.

The extent of your self-deception will really determine how much your happiness and ability to lead others will be undermined. Is your performance, or those you oversee suffering? Then, my friend, you may need intervention.

The solution: A 5-step intervention to protect you from self-deception.

Fortunately, having a good internal radar system (i.e., self-awareness and emotional intelligence) to recognize this leadership trap can get you out of trouble. Here's how to avoid the damage from self-deception:

  1. Start by sharpening your vision - where's the team headed? And how are you going to get there?
  2. Reset the desire for great teamwork and collaboration. What values, behaviors and agreements need to be in place to run a well-oiled machine?
  3. Redouble your accountability and trust those around you to do the work. Who do you need to extend trust to, and give it as a gift?
  4. Speak clearly what it is you want done without sending mixed messages, and set the course with clear direction without wavering. Where do you truly want to go?
  5. And last but not least....listen, listen, and listen some more to the people you influence. They may have all the answers you're looking for.

You can then leverage your leadership strengths, view yourself and others more positively, and resolve resistant personal and professional relationship problems.