Duplicity. Say the word. Now say it again. Doesn’t it sound like it is intended to be – deceitful?

The sin of duplicity is deadly because of two reasons:

1. If you are acting in a duplicitous manner, you are doing an injustice to yourself. Why? Because you are being inauthentic…and we know the point of Welcome Me to Me…it is about you being authentic to yourself.
2. If you have a duplicitous boss, colleague, friend, or even spouse…well…then we enter dangerous territory.

The above points are bold statements to make so let’s unpack this. Duplicitous behaviour, or duplicity is most likened to The Dark Triad – a term that says that there are some malevolent people with characteristics of:

Narcissism – an unrealistic sense of superiority
Machiavellianism – manipulative and self-interested behaviour with no emotion shown to whomever is hurt in the art of this deceit
Psychopathy – for the purpose of this article, let’s stick to one of the identifiers of psychopathy – impaired empathy and remorse. Interesting fact…a psychopath is born every 47 seconds (Kent Kiehl)

A simpler description of duplicity is that someone is deceptive in words and actions.

Now, no one should be a pseudo-psychologist…you may or may not recognise these very brief definitions in some people. Leave it at that. The point is to look at the damage duplicitous behaviour has.

Being deceptive in actions does not need to be likened to The Dark Triad. What it must ring true of is that you not being who you are. Every person on this planet should be ‘allowed’ to shine their gift to the world. They don’t need to be stifled by those who don’t see their true potential. When this happens, we get ousted if we don’t conform. Let’s look at some situations that could resonate:

  • A truly incompetent leader who is threatened by your likeability, qualifications, intelligence so you play down your potential because you fear retaliation
  • Bullies who force you to practice avoidance so you can live your life without being picked on
  • Friends, romantic partners and family who treat you in a submissive way i.e. always needing to conform to their way

We have all been there. It takes a brave person to stand up to people like this. It takes a braver leader to interject and manage the incompetent leader and/or bully out of the organisation.

So how do you avoid being ingenuine to yourself? Well, we follow the art of congruence – genuineness. Being genuine means the following:

  • Being true to your thoughts, words and behaviours – no matter how bad they are, acknowledge them; after all, we can’t be in a permanent state of happiness. One of my favourite CEOs once told me ‘if you are having a bad day, have the best bad day ever’
  • Be consistent in what you think and how you act the thought out. This is a particularly tough process to follow as you will need to face your demons such as your prejudices. By doing this, you aren’t pretending. You admit you are flawed…we all are…
  • Manage you needs, especially your emerging ones, in a controlled manner e.g. don’t fire off a response to an e-mail because you are triggered, step away and get perspective
  • Practice humanity – see the world as fragile where kindness should be bestowed – we don’t always need to be in combative mode – even our egos, that we all have, needs a rest
  • Make a contract with yourself…as the writer John Boyle O’Reilly said, ‘ Be true to your work, word and your friend’. I wouldn’t stop there – be true to all that matters to you

Simple? Yes. Easy? No

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