But sometimes pride has a negative effect on leaders. When pride is all that the leader knows, he will not be prepared for times of crisis, failure and personal errors. In these times, leaders who fail to drop their displays of boastful self-pride succumb to the 4 pitfalls to pride:
- Conceit - an excessively favorable opinion of one's own ability or importance
- Arrogance - offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride
- Gall - bitterness of spirit; impudence
- Egotism - excessive and objectionable reference to oneself in conversation or writing (sidenote - I found it interesting that the origin of this word was idiotism.)
These pitfalls represent the 4 prison walls of self-worship for leaders who are inherently incapable of relinquishing their pride.
How can leaders avoid the pitfalls of pride?
1. Exude HumilityPeople are more responsive to humility than egotism, especially when the leader is the cause of failure. Leaders must display their vulnerability to followers, and this act will create more trust in the organization and a deeper belief in the leader.
2. Give up on Shameless Self-PromotionWhen the leader attempts to right the wrong by bragging about how great he is and how much he has done for the organization, everyone gets the message that the leader cannot accept his own imperfection. Prideful leaders should stop propping themselves up on a pedestal and accept that they're human like the rest of us.
3. Overcome the Fear of ImperfectionLeaders are human; thus they are fallible. Sadly, our world doesn't accept imperfection even though no human is perfect. The ultimate leader embraces his imperfection and uses it to model humility for his team. It takes courage to stand out there and say you're not perfect, but great leaders do it all the time.
Pride is great in good times and destructive in dark times. Leaders must understand that pride is a double edged sword that can help the organization grow or kill the leader's future with the organization. The very best leaders balance pride with self-actualization and own the mistakes that they make. They do all this because they understand and respect the pitfalls to pride.