3 Ways To Prevent Prideful Leadership
Pride is one of the chief downfalls of many a leader.
It doesn’t take much time to look and see real examples of leaders who allowed a prideful spirit to lead them astray. CEOs and executives, politicians, pastors and deacons, judges and law enforcement officers, celebrities, and even ordinary leaders in their work or homes have been subject to an elevation of pride which not only destroys their lives and the lives of those around them, but also taints those positions for some time afterwards.
How many times have we felt a sense of betrayal from people with these titles through no fault of their own, but because of the prideful attitude of someone in a similar role?
The symptoms are subtle but can be spotted early on:
- An unteachable spirit
- Manipulation to gain one’s own way or agenda
- A duplicitous life, one persona in public and another in private
- An unwillingness to serve
- A justification of behavior that is contrary to the role or vision
As leaders we must be on guard against many things within ourselves that would ruin our reputation. Here are 3 ways to place these safeguards in your life to prevent a prideful spirit:
Serve others without failing. A consistent focus on others takes your eyes off of yourself. When you put genuine efforts into serving others, whether in your job, your community, your church, or your own home, you will lift others up instead of yourself. Don’t serve others to gain more income, title, status in the community, or connections; serve to better those around you.
Build accountability partners into your life. In order to have people to hold you accountable, you must be subject to other’s view of yourself. Building people of accountability – such as friends, business associates, church members, mentors, coaches – in your life is good counsel for anyone to follow. These must be people who have integrity and a genuine concern for you and others in your life. Allow them unfettered access to what you do and an open forum to help you be more self-aware. Accountability partners can also be mutual – holding each other to standards of character and behavior. This allows each person to not be prideful and creates a stronger platform for honesty and growth as each one is looking after the other’s best interests.
Be teachable. We all have a tendency to get defensive and justify our actions. Yet in order to truly grow and not get complacent, you must be willing to accept any and all feedback to keep you in check. Ask yourself and others exactly what you need to work on as well as how to take the necessary steps to grow. If you disagree with any of the input, go to a reliable second source – most of the time, they will say the same thing. You must cultivate a desire to grow and not get prideful; that only comes from having a truly teachable spirit. If need be, ask others if you are teachable, and they will tell you. Willingness to grow is the only sure way to succeed and stay on the upward trajectory. Ensure that no matter where you are in your career or life that you are willing to learn and get better.
We can only change the leadership culture in our world if we shun pridefulness. By being an example of great leadership, we can show the next generation of leaders a better way. This can only come from serving, being accountable, and having a willingness to learn and grow.
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud” (Prov 16:18)