Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful. — Ann Landers
A turtle wanted to spend the winter in Florida, but he knew he could never walk that far. He convinced a couple of geese to help him, each taking the end of a piece of rope, while he clamped his vise-like jaws in the center.
The flight went fine until someone on the ground looked up in admiration and asked, “Who in the world thought of that?”
Unable to resist the chance to take credit, the turtle opened his mouth to shout, “I did.”
Just as it was for the turtle, pride can be the source of your downfall in leadership. To be sure, we want to take pride in our work and do the best we can, but it’s another thing to allow pride to become detrimental to our leadership.
What does runaway pride look like on a day-to-day basis and why does it matter? Here are three traits to watch for.
An arrogant attitude
This is perhaps the most noticeable prideful trait you’ll display among your peers. To you, it’s a sign of confidence that says you believe in yourself and that you are in control. But an arrogant attitude in leadership does not come across that way to the people
An arrogant attitude hurts your leadership because it sends the message to those around you that you think you are better than everyone else and gives off an air of superiority. This, in turn, makes it much more difficult for your people to approach you or seek out your help for fear of ridicule. Drop the attitude and give your people a break.
An out of control ego
While an arrogant attitude may be the most noticeable prideful trait, an out of control ego can potentially be the most damaging. When your ego is out of control, over time your behaviors become more irrational. You eventually come to the place where you think everything is about you and take credit for things that you had nothing to do with.
An out of control ego not only hurts you as a leader, it also hurts those around you. When your team members are subservient to your ego and not focused on the mission, everything is in jeopardy. Get your ego in check. It’s not about you.
An overbearing management style
When an arrogant attitude and an out of control ego join forces the only possible outcome is an overbearing management style. This, of course, is the byproduct of a leader who isn’t self-aware enough to notice what’s taking place. The result of this can be devastating to the people and to the organization unless the leader changes course.
The people who work under an overbearing leader will ultimately leave. They almost always do. This is why pride can be so detrimental to your leadership and is why you must always guard your heart.
It’s normal and natural to take pride in our work and pursue excellence. As leaders, you must be on guard not to allow pride in your work to become pride in your heart. When pride takes root in your heart, your leadership will always suffer.
As leaders, we must walk in humility and remember that it’s not about us.