Self-handicapping Leadership: The Nine Behaviors Holding Back Employees, Managers, And Companies…

Hardcover | November 19, 2015

byPhillip J. Decker

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  • Get people to reengage—and solve problems instead of creating them!
  • Model and propagate better ways to lead and collaborate
  • Escape the killer ERO Spiral (Excuses, Reduced Effort, Obstacles)
  • For leaders and managers in any organization!

Every day, millions of employees watch their leaders sabotage themselves. They watch, they learn, and then they do it, too. Next thing you know, everyone’s lost motivation, and nobody takes ownership. That’s how organizations fail. This book will help you break the vicious cycle of self-handicapping leadership in

your organization, stop the excuses, and unleash all the performance your team is capable of delivering.


Phil and Jordan reveal how and why people handicap themselves even when they know better. Next, they offer real solutions from their own pioneering researchand consulting. You’ll find practical ways to strengthen accountability andself-awareness, recognize the “big picture,” improve decision-making, deepentrust and engagement, develop talent, escape micromanagement, and focusrelentlessly on outcomes.


Your colleagues can be far more effective, and so can you. In fact, it starts with you—right here, right now, with this book.


Many leaders inadvertently create cultures of failure. They model and promote “selfhandicapping” actions, where people withdraw effort or create new problems, in order to maintain their own self-images of competence. Self-Handicapping Leadership shines the spotlight on this widespread and destructive phenomenon and presents real action plans for overcoming it.


Phillip J. Decker and Jordan P. Mitchell identify nine categories of self-handicapping, show how they typically manifest themselves, explain their underlying causes, and provide behavioral remedies for getting past them on both an individual and organizational level. They address issues ranging from tunnel vision to poor coaching and mentoring, weak decision analysis to failures of trust and conviction.


In each chapter, you’ll find real-world examples and lessons learned, practical assessments, and easy-to-use action plans. This is all you need to eliminate self-handicapping and unleash better performance: in teams, organizations, subordinates—and most importantly, in yourself!


Overcome the 9 self-handicapping behaviors that lead to failure:

  • Avoiding Accountability
  • Tunnel Vision
  • Lack of Awareness
  • Poor Analysis & Decision Making
  • Poor Communication Culture
  • Poor Engagement
  • Poor Talent Development
  • Micromanaging
  • Not Driving for Results

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From the Publisher

TRANSFORM CULTURES OF FAILURE INTO CULTURES OF SUCCESS! Get people to reengage—and solve problems instead of creating them! Model and propagate better ways to lead and collaborate Escape the killer ERO Spiral (Excuses, Reduced Effort, Obstacles) For leaders and managers in any organization! Every day, mi...

Phillip J. Decker, PhD, is a Professor in the Business School at the University of Houston, Clear Lake, Texas Medical Center. Following his discharge from the US Navy, where he was a nuclear non-destructive test specialist working on submarines, Dr. Decker received his PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The Ohio State Un...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9 × 5.9 × 1.4 inPublished:November 19, 2015Publisher:Pearson EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:013411972X

ISBN - 13:9780134119724

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Authors’ Notes    xi

About the Authors    xiii

Chapter 1: Introduction to Self-Handicapping    1

The Self-Handicaps    5

The Slippery Slope    7

Why Leaders Are Not Talking About Self-Handicapping?    14

Why We Self-Handicap?    18

What Is It Costing You?    20

Where to Go from Here?    22

Final Personal Takeaways    22

Endnotes    23

Chapter 2: Overcoming Self-Handicapping    25

What Causes Self-Handicapping?    26

Consequences of Self-Handicapping    30

How to Handle Self-Handicapping Triggers    34

Reversing and Eliminating Self-Handicapping    39

What Is Next?    45

Final Personal Takeaways    46

Endnotes    47

Chapter 3: Accountability    51

The Real Issues    52

Impact    54

What to Do?    55

How You Avoid Accountability?    57

So Why Don’t We Do These Things?    58

Behaviors To Change    63

Final Personal Takeaways    77

Baby Steps    80

Endnotes    81

Chapter 4: Self-Awareness    85

Impact    87

The Real Issues    89

Do You Lack Awareness?    91

What to Do?    92

Why Don’t You?    100

Behaviors to Change    102

Final Personal Takeaways    116

Baby Steps    117

Endnotes    118

Chapter 5: Tunnel Vision    123

Impact    124

Real Issues    126

What to Do?    128

Do You Have Tunnel Vision?    130

Why Do You Use Tunnel Vision?    131

Behaviors to Change    135

Final Personal Takeaways    144

Baby Steps    146

Endnotes    149

Chapter 6: Engagement    153

Impact    154

The Real Issues    155

What the Manager Should Do for Himself    156

What to Do for Employees    158

Are You Engaged and Do You Show It?    159

Why Don’t You Create Engagement?    161

Behaviors to Change    164

Final Personal Takeaways    174

Baby Steps    176

Endnotes    177

Chapter 7: Analysis and Decision-Making    181

Impact    182

The Real Issues    184

How Is Your Problem Analysis?    185

What to Do?    186

Why Don’t You    191

Why Don’t You Generate and Analyze Alternatives Well?    196

Behaviors to Change    200

Final Personal Takeaways    208

Baby Steps    211

Endnotes    212

Chapter 8: Communication Culture    215

Impact    217

The Real Issues    219

Do You Practice Poor Communication?    220

What to Do?    221

Why Don’t You?    225

Behaviors to Change    228

Final Personal Takeaways    244

Baby Steps    246

Endnotes    247

Chapter 9: Talent Development    251

Impact    252

The Real Issues    253

Do You Practice Poor Talent Development?    254

What to Do?    255

Why Don’t You?    256

Behaviors to Change    261

Final Personal Takeaways    281

Baby Steps    282

Endnotes    283

Chapter 10: Micromanaging    285

Impact    288

Real Issues    291

Do You Micromanage?    292

What to Do?    293

Why Don’t You    300

Behaviors to Change    303

Final Personal Takeaways    313

Baby Steps    315

Endnotes    316

Chapter 11: Driving for Results    319

Impact    322

The Real Issues    325

Do You Not Drive for Results?    328

What to Do?    329

Why Don’t You    336

Behaviors to Change    338

Final Personal Takeaways    348

Baby Steps    350

Endnotes    351

Chapter 12: What Happens Next    353

A Quick Summary    353

Leaders Have Impact on Those Around Them    356

Working With Others’ on Self-Handicapping    357

Helping Employees    357

Helping Bosses    362

Helping Peers    364

When to Be Careful    367

Final Notes    368

Some Special Values for Book Readers    369

Endnotes    369

Index    371