This is not about playing the blame game. Truth be told, these pitfalls are easy for anyone to fall into, even the most astute leaders, which Jamie Dimon was. I’ll be the first to confess that as CEO of my own company, I have stepped unwittingly into these ego traps over the years. I have found myself falling into Trap #2, minimizing feedback about myself that is hard to hear (deflecting critical comments about my speaking events with statements like, "That audience was unique", "They specifically requested that topic so there was nothing I could do", "It was just one bad day, no biggie"). And my team, who also wants me to succeed and not be hurt, chimes in, “Yes you are right, that was out of your control,” thereby feeding my self-deception.
I can also make life tough for my support team because my communication style, combined with my personality traits, result in a lot of last-minute planning, which results in them having to quickly shift their own priorities and tasks at the last minute (Trap #5: being blind to the downstream impact of my behavior). Feeling bad about putting this burden on my administrative support team, I sometimes end up doing too much myself (Trap #4: not letting go of control)—which only keeps the pressure on me, resulting in more last-minute planning. Get it? I make a living on recognizing the hallmarks of these traps, and it’s still very hard to maintain the self-awareness and self-discipline to avoid them.