Every leader is susceptible to pride and ego. When leaders fail to keep their pride and ego in check it can create a weakness that could damage their ability to lead. One of the main methods that people will use to exploit this weakness is flattery.
Flattery is used by master manipulators to gain influence, for corruption, to undermine the strategy you are trying to build as well as to deceive you. Flattery is the most dangerous form of manipulation and is often undetected by the leader, though many of your followers will recognize it is happening.
Flattery is most powerful to those who are hungry for it, but over time can also be used on those leaders who do not require affirmation. When flattery is used correctly by a master manipulator, it will bring a leader to their knees just like putting kryptonite near Superman. It will drain all your power and make you weak.
Make sure you don’t confuse praise with flattery, though the two seemingly could be used interchangeably. Praise is defined by Merriam-Webster as expressing a favorable judgment. Merriam-Webster defines flattery as insincere or excessive praise. Leaders who are needy, vain or who are lacking self-confidence will surely mistake flattery as praise. Confident leaders who have been around the block understand that flattery is often motivated by an agenda.
As a leader it is of utmost importance to recognize that you are constantly under attack of flattery. The more influence and power you have the higher your chances of being given kryptonite by the master manipulators using flattery for their own agenda.
The best defense anyone in leadership has against this form of manipulation is to ensure you are more concerned with serving others than you are serving yourself. If you are serving your needs above those you are leading, you won’t even recognize that someone has tied kryptonite around your neck through the use of insincere or excessive praise.
I leave you with a quote by Francois de la Rochefoucauld – “Flattery is a counterfeit money which, but for vanity, would have no circulation.”
More Actionable Advice:
Latest posts by Jason Cortel (see all)
- A Better Way to Have a Difficult Conversation - June 13, 2015
- Add These Tips from Grandma to Your Leadership Tool Kit - May 30, 2015
- Tuesday Tip: Start the Day with Clarity - May 26, 2015