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January 2007

Pride - A Leader's Greatest Problem

by Dr. John C. Maxwell

Pull a 10-dollar bill from your pocket, and you will see the face of Alexander Hamilton on the front. By merit of his accomplishments, Hamilton should be one of our greatest national heroes. Consider his contributions to America:

• Revolutionary War hero
• George Washington’s chief of staff by age 22
• America’s first Secretary of the Treasury
• Co-author of Te Federalist Papers
• Creator of the Coast Guard
• Designer of the nation’s banking and finance system
• Architect of a system of tax collection to bring revenue to the U.S. Government
• Builder of the infrastructure for an industrial economy

Yet, despite displaying the greatest blend of legal, political, and financial knowledge of the founding fathers, Hamilton does not rank among the foremost heroes of our country’s history. Why? Pride. Hamilton’s self-importance and inability to take an insult alienated those around him and sabotaged his career. His ego literally killed him. Far too vain to patch up differences with fellow politician, Aaron Burr, Hamilton was shot and killed by Burr in a duel at the age of 49.

Pride—A Leader’s Greatest Problem

Before diving into the body of this lesson, I’d like to credit my friend Dave Anderson, founder of Many of his thoughts resonate throughout this edition of LW.

I agree with Dave when he suggests pride is the leading culprit of managerial ineffectiveness:

“There are many reasons managers fail. For some, the organization outgrows them. Others don’t change with the times. Some spread themselves too thin and work long and hard but not smart. Many abandon the priorities and disciplines that once made them great and never get back to them. A few make poor character choices…But all these causes for management failure have their root in one common cause: pride. In the simplest terms, pride is devastating. I’m not talking about the pride one has in their work or their accomplishments. I’m indicting the pride that inflates your sense of self-worth and distorts your perspective of reality.” ~ Dave Anderson

There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. “Good pride” represents our dignity and self-respect. “Bad pride” is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance. When you look at the word pride, notice the middle letter is “I”. When you are full of pride on the inside, it makes you stiff, stubborn, and creates strife with others.

The Problems of Pride

1. Pride Stops Us from Building a Team.

Prideful leaders readily contract “Superman Syndrome” and devalue the benefits of teamwork. They rely on their own prowess to solve problems and advance the organization. Blinded by their self-centeredness, arrogant leaders are unable to appreciate the strengths in others.

2. Pride Renders Us Unteachable.

Leaders who are assured they know everything don’t bother about personal growth. Their ego convinces them that they have arrived, and they quit searching for life’s lessons in the people and circumstances around them.

3. Pride Closes Our Mind to Feedback.

Pride deafens us to the advice or warnings of those around us. As Stephen Covey has said, “It takes humility to seek feedback. It takes wisdom to understand it, analyze it, and appropriately act on it.” Without humility, we care about only one opinion—our own.

4. Pride Prevents Us from Admitting Mistakes.

The Duke of Wellington once haughtily drew himself up to his full height and thundered to one of his staff officers, “God knows I have many faults, but being wrong is not one of them!” Pride won’t allow for failure. The egotistical leader blames mistakes on others, justifies them as inevitable, or refuses to acknowledge them.

5. Pride Keeps Us from Making Changes.

Pride will cause leaders to pledge allegiance to the status quo rather than opening themselves to change; especially if the change alters a system they built. Since leaders have emotional equity in their own work, they will justify living with broken systems rather than changing them.

6. Pride Encourages Poor Character Choices

Because of arrogance, ignorance, or a little of both, leaders start taking shortcuts that compromise their values. In their conceit, they think they’re above the rules or are too smart to get caught.

As flawed human beings, we all fall into prideful traps from time to time. However, failing to recognize the error of pride and change course will doom our leadership. Pride is a fatal character flaw and leaders that leave legacies have their character in tact. Leaders who fail to prune their pride will meet demise. That’s not a guess, it’s a guarantee. With pride, it’s not a matter of “if” we will fall, but “when.” There are no exceptions.

7. Pride Hinders Us from Reaching Our Potential.

For leaders to reach full potential, they must be aware of areas in which they can improve. Unfortunately, pride blocks honest self-assessment and prevents leaders from finding the path to better performance.

8. Pride Destroys Relationships.

The opposite of loving others is not hating others but rather obsessing over oneself. When we become self-absorbed, we cut ourselves off from the enjoyment of the relationships in our life. What I call, “The Celebration Principle” says that the true test of relationships is not how loyal we are when friends fail, but how thrilled we are when they succeed. If we can’t get excited about the accomplishments of our friends, we had better do some soul-searching.

9. Pride Distorts Your Perspective on Reality

Constantly viewing life through the lens of selfish ambition colors a leader’s outlook. Many problems in business are caused by the ego interfering with judgment. Choices that should be clear to the leader become clouded by an obsession with self advancement.

How to Correct the Pride Problem

1. Recognize Your Pride

“If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, you are very conceited indeed.”

~ C. S. Lewis

2. Admit Your Pride

“There is perhaps not one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive. Even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

3. Express Your Gratitude

“A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.”

~ Henry Ward Beecher

4. Say Your Prayers

“Lord, when I am wrong, make me willing to change, and when I am right, make me easy to live with.”

~ Anonymous

5. Practice Serving Others

“The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule.”

~ Albert Einstein

6. Learn to Laugh at Yourself

“Blessed are they that laugh at themselves, they shall never cease to be entertained.”

~ Chinese Beatitude

"This article is used by permission from Dr. John C. Maxwell's free monthly e-newsletter 'Leadership Wired' available at "

What separates you?

by Robin Sharma

Starbury One basketball shoes look a lot like those peddled by Nike and Reebok. They are worn on-court by NY Knick guard Stephon Marbury. And they are built to last, like those of their competitors. So what makes them special? The fact they are only $14.98 a pair (really).

The best businesses know their Separation Points - their competitive advantages - and then have the discipline to stay wildly focused on them until the whole world knows what makes them special. Tesla just put out a sports car. $100,000 a pop. But here are their Separation Points: it does 0-60 mph in 4 seconds, is electric powered and will go 100,000 miles per battery.

Have the courage to be different. Have the boldness to go into your industry and create value that has never been created. Be staggeringly innovative - always getting better and dreaming bigger. And know what separates you from every one else. Because if you don't know what makes your business special, how can you tell everyone else?

Today matters

"... the only time you ever have in which to learn anything or see anything or feel anything, or express any feeling or emotion, or respond to an event, or grow, or heal, is this moment, because this is the only moment any of us ever gets. You’re only here now; you’re only alive in this moment."

-- Jon Kabat-Zinn

Many people regularly squander their time. They live under the assumption that they'll live forever. As a result, they don't value the present as a precious opportunity that will never come again.

Others continually race against time, trying to cram too many activities into each hour, and suffering stress in the process.

In our view, we are more effective and most happy when we balance being and doing. We continually ask ourselves what’s most important to get done. And we’re learning to BE -- fully present -- when we do. We also regularly give ourselves permission to relax.

Make today really matter. It's all you'll ever have.

"Very few of us know how much we can put into life if we use it properly, wisely, and economically. Let us economize our time -- lifetimes ebb away before we wake up, and that is why we do not realize the value of the immortal time God has given us."

-- Paramahansa Yogananda

Ant and the Elephant


Holidays are always a wonderful time to get acquainted and spend some quality time with loved ones. These holidays, I get to spend time with some of my friends, most I have not seen in ages. But the best part of all, is that I discovered that even when 2 people are apart, as long as they do not do anything to ruin the relationship, it can still work out great. Thank you, my dear friends.

I get to meet some distant cousins last night at the airport and it seem that everyone had grown up so much that I hardly recognize some of them. Some of these kids were so cute and adorable when they were younger and then they grow up to be a whole different person. Isnt that thought just scary? For you parents out there, who still think that your children are going to be the same when they grow up. Newsflash, they are not. Unless you are talking about Avishek, my mentors son who is the most positive kid I have ever met.

I took this from the book The Ant and The Elephant by Vince Poscente:

We live in a world of instant gratification, but we need to fight that pressure and remember that the worthiest goals take time and energy.

We all grow up wanting rewards as soon as we finish doing something. However most people do not realize that the best and most worthy accomplishments will take time. Therefore I was so relieved that yesterday I ended my drought season. I was about to get use to being sore and being accustomed to challenges. Thank goodness I stop myself.

Success comes after work and there is no such thing as accomplishing success without work. So if you choose to remain being nobody significant, it is no ones fault but your own for not letting yourself take that first step in believing in yourself.

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