Though all of us struggle with pride, we often don’t recognize pride in our own lives and leadership. C. S. Lewis called pride the great sin and the sin we see in others much more easily than we see in ourselves. Following are ten signs leaders are more prideful than they realize. I wrote the list directed to the leader, and it is filled with sarcasm. I have seen them all at some point in my 20 years of leading, which means, according to Lewis, that tragically they have certainly existed in my own heart and life at times.
1. You don’t think you struggle with pride.
You know others struggle with pride, and you wonder why they do, because in your mind they do not have much to be prideful about. You do, but you have fought it off better than most have.
2. You feel you are owed.
You have done so very much for the organization that you have put them in debt to you. They owe you more money, more time, more of a lot of things they are not giving you.
3. You overestimate your contributions.
You secretly, and even not so secretly, pontificate on how much better things are because of your influence and contribution.
4. You underestimate your team’s contributions.
If you overestimate your contribution, you are sure to underestimate the team’s. You believe that you are the multiplier to all their work, creativity, thinking, and focus.
5. You rarely say “thank you.”
Ingratitude and pride are close friends. Why would you thank others, after all? They should be thanking you!
6. You think your successor will have it hard following you.
You wonder aloud to others how the whole organization will need to adjust when you leave because no one can fill your shoes. And if the organization does not adjust, and they put another person in your role, you express how you feel sorry for the pressure he/she will have to endure because of your amazing legacy.
7. You think your predecessor was an idiot.
You love to make snarky remarks about the person before you. It is such good news that you are now here to right all those foolish wrongs.
8. You often compare yourself to others.
It is important to find people whom you outpace in work ethic, intensity, learning, and results. After all, you need constant benchmarks to be sure you are dominating.
9. You care more about success than sanctification.
Your sanctification can come later, it is time for success now.
10. You can’t learn from people different than you.
People who are different than you should learn from you. Of course, everyone should. But they don’t have much to offer you because your context and your approach is just so unique.