Like many things in life, pride can be either a positive or a negative.
It’s a great and appropriate thing to feel when you’ve worked hard to accomplish something difficult.
But when pride becomes too entangled with ego, it comes across as arrogance.
This kind of pride can be personally destructive and dangerous to the effectiveness your leadership.
Here are seven danger signs to watch for:
Conceit. Humility is one of the greatest values in leadership, and leading with pride and conceit only advertises the absence of humility. Unsurprisingly, those who care about only themselves and understand only their own perspective are often the most miserable. Stay on track by making sure everyone on your team has voice, value, and their fair share of the credit.
Superiority. When you set yourself above everything around you, you make sure that others are forced to look up to you. On the other hand, your own view is limited if you’re always looking down on everyone and everything. It’s a serious failure of perspective. Remember to stay focused not on how important you can become, but on how much of a difference you can make.
Arrogance. Even less desirable than conceit or superiority is arrogance, which combines an elitist view with aggressive and even destructive tendencies. Arrogant leaders don’t care what they harm as long as they come out on top. If you find yourself feeling wanting to help yourself have more, be first, or take more than your share of credit, it’s time for a change.
Narcissism. Self-esteem is good, of course, but the narcissistic leader has an overdose level. They’re secretly sure that they’re smarter or better than anyone else, and they’d far rather be admired than cared for. The results? Vanity, entitlement, and exploitation. The best cure is to stay connected to your responsibility to others.
Selfishness. You cannot be a great leader and be selfish. Pride demands to be served with a show of respect, but leadership is about stewardship and the willingness to serve. Serving others requires us to focus on their needs rather than our own, and it reminds us of how we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
Entitlement. Great leadership is about expressing gratitude. But those suffering with undue pride believe they truly deserve every good thing that comes to them—and more. There is something about saying “thank you” that takes our eyes off of ourselves and puts them back onto others.
Self-absorption. The self-absorbed person brings all topics back to themselves. They counter loneliness and isolation by putting themselves at the center of every conversation, every project, every idea—when the true cure for isolation is exactly the opposite.
If your pride pushes you toward performing with excellence, doing your best, and finding joy in the accomplishments of yourself and others, it’s probably helping you become a better leader.
But if pride is about taking the credit, feeling superior, and exploiting your relationships, then pride is a problem. It’s a problem that’s often grounded in low self-esteem and fear, so those are good starting places for the tough work of self-correction.
Lead from within. Leading with pride can be a problem when it begins to hurt both our life and our leadership. The test we must set for ourselves is not to march alone but to march in such a way that others will wish to join us. That is leadership.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.