Agile encourages us to be open, clear, and honest – we call it transparency. Most take that to mean visual reporting systems that all can see. Should it not mean more though? A visual reporting system seems rather superficial. If we have to be Agile and not just do Agile, why are we only doing transparency and not actually being transparent?
Applying Transparency to Ourselves
“It isn’t my fault I forgot my homework.” – My 11-year-old daughter
With the rise of organizational Agility, what do we need to be transparent about?
Ourselves. I think we need to be more transparent about ourselves with ourselves. When evaluating what we are actually capable of, we need to be honest with ourselves. We need to admit it is our fault, we need to admit when we are good or bad at something. We need to admit it to ourselves.
Many of us might think we have a million flaws, our own self-consciousness getting the better of us. Others might be a little too confident in their abilities – a little Dunning-Kruger going on. What you see as a huge and horrible flaw or great strength in ability, everyone else shrugs their shoulders at most of the time.
Your mind has a tendency to hide the truth from you and there aren’t many people who are going to be honest with you. Even if they were “being honest” with you, it would really just be their version of what is true. It may not even be true. This is why you need to work harder to be honest with yourself.
As people, we are usually either too over-confident with our abilities or too critical of our abilities. We want to avoid being the problem and work to tell ourselves we aren’t the problem – our we believe we are the problem and it actually isn’t us. We are almost incapable of seeing ourselves honestly. We do one thing poorly and that is what we focus on, suddenly we believe we do everything poorly. We fail to grasp the whole picture and let the moment control our thoughts.
While I would love to tell you how great you are at everything, I would be lying to you. You probably suck at some things you think you are good at. It’s okay though. You don’t have to be great at everything, and most people probably don’t care that you have a flaw or two.
You still need to stop lying to yourself about how good (or bad) you are. Confidence doesn’t mean anything without actual ability, ability doesn’t always bring confidence. I have seen too many very confident people absolutely suck at the things they were confident about. I think if they were capable of being honest with themselves they would see that.
Detecting Your Self-Deception
I came across this interesting article in Psychology Today – How Do I Know When I am Lying to Myself? It offered some tips on how to figure out if you are lying to yourself.
Notice Your Emotion
Does a person or situation trigger an emotional reaction? According to Cortney Warren’s article that I mentioned above, in those emotionally triggering situations, we are going to struggle with admitting the truth to ourselves.
You hate your coworker Bob because he is always passing gas next to you. So you think it can’t be your fault something went wrong with the project, it must be Bob. But maybe it wasn’t Bob. Maybe you are blinded by your hatred and it was actually Sally, the accountant you have a crush on but would never blame her for anything. Or it could have been you.
Notice Your Thoughts
Do you always think you are right? We want to believe that, we want to believe our version of reality is the one true version. Too often our thoughts are full of inaccuracies, our reality tainted by our personality. Reconsider your thoughts, try to establish the factual nature of them.
Have you ever been wrong? Or is everyone else always stupid and you have to come in and fix their mistakes all the time? If you answered “Yes” to the second question, you might be lying to yourself. You might be the guy everyone hates and calls a “Know-it-all” at work; that nickname is usually given facetiously.
Notice Your Behavior
Our behavior and the way we act is actually who we are. We may not always want to believe that, but our irrational and rational actions are a reflection of us. How we behave and interact with the world can give us a clue as to whether we are lying to ourselves.
Are you a good and generous person? Do you actually act like it? If not, then you may want to reconsider your view of yourself that you are a good and generous person.
By the way, I don’t suggest you become transparent with yourself so you can answer the stupid job interview question – “What are your biggest flaws?” or some variation of that. You still have to lie to them when they ask you that; at least if you actually want the job ( I suggest you turn the job down if they do ask you that). Sad fact of life, but there it is. There is no allowable room for transparency in the job interview process. Years of horrible HR practices and mismanagement hasn’t made a very friendly system for transparency.
I suggest it because it can help you form a more realistic view of the world and your place in it.
Warren, Cortney S. (2014). How Do I Know When I Am Lying to Myself? Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/naked-truth/201405/how-do-i-know-when-i-am-lying-myself