Mary Kelly

When Confidence Turns to Arrogance (Mary Kelly)

Winning Well Connection

Why Leaders Fail

Click on the image for more information about Mary’s book.

Mary has been an amazing supporter of David’s from early in his professional speaking career and an amazing friend. As she said on David and my engagement, “I feel like I’m gaining a sister.” 

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. When leaders are confident, they have a deep belief in their ability to make a difference in the world. Confidence is an important competency in leadership, and it is critical to a leader’s success. Confidence is motivating and inspirational to others. Confidence empowers people to take risks, be innovative, and pushes the team and organization further ahead.

Arrogance crosses the line of confidence. Arrogant people believe they no longer have a need to learn, grow, or change. They wholeheartedly believe they are right and others are wrong.

Arrogance destroys the valuable, and absolutely essential relationships a leader has with other team members. Even more devastating is the feeling arrogant behavior creates in others. People have no desire or motivation to follow an arrogant leader. Sometimes the arrogance is so repugnant that people cheer when arrogant people fail, even if it means they suffer as well.

If other people agree with arrogant leaders, they are considered by those leaders to be smart and are often favored. If people question an arrogant leader’s decisions or recommendations, they are often labeled as unintelligent or punished. For an arrogant leader, disagreement equals ignorance and disloyalty. When this happens, subordinates and peers learn not to challenge the leader, even when he or she is clearly wrong. Not only do arrogant leaders belittle those who disagree with them, but they often do so in the most condescending and patronizing way possible.

It is difficult to work for an arrogant person, but it is also difficult having one work for you. When people believe they are the smartest, most competent person in the workplace, they frequently fail to follow directions, refuse guidance, and ignore feedback. This destroys both teamwork and productivity.

How can leaders be both confident and humble leaders? From our book, Why Leaders Fail and the 7 Prescriptions for Success, great leaders:

1. Admit and accept when they make mistakes, and they apologize to the team for letting them down.

2. Demonstrate accountability and take responsibility for the actions of their team. They know that “the buck” really does stop here. They give the team credit for the wins while they take responsibility for the failures.

3. Communicate and act in a respectful manner at all times. To everyone. Always. Great leaders are not rude, and they treat others with grace and dignity.

4. Be open-minded and willing to learn something new. Great leaders know they need other people’s wisdom and abilities, and they appreciate the knowledge around them.

5. Show gratitude. Great leaders give praise and recognition to the right people at the right time. Humble leaders habitually recognize great contributions that make a difference. At home, at work, and in their daily routines, great leaders find it easy to say “thank you” and recognize someone for how they make a difference.

6. Practice forgiveness. People make mistakes. If people are not making mistakes, they are not innovating. Great leaders know that they have to learn from mistakes and move on.

7. Ask for honest feedback, and act on it. Great leaders welcome 360 leadership assessments. They want to improve and they seek ways to become even better.

Leadership is not easy. Being a humble and confident leader takes heart as well as ability.

Mary Kelly and Peter Stark are the co-authors of Why Leaders Fail and the 7 Prescriptions for Success. They can be found at Mary@ProductiveLeaders.com and Peter@PeterStark.com.

Winning Well Reflection

Mary has provided such a fantastic list of ways to keep your confidence from bleeding over into arrogance. Most leaders who struggle with confidence worry that they’ll be perceived as arrogant. You won’t – more likely, you’ll be perceived as trustworthy. Thanks, Mary, for the great examples of how to combine confidence and humility to increase your influence and credibility.

Save

Save

Save

Justin Maust

Refuse to be Offended (Justin Maust)

Winning Well Connection

Justin and I were introduced to one another through a common connection who just knew we needed to know one another based on our values-based approach to leadership. One thing led to another, and in a few weeks, I’m delighted to be keynoting at his  Lead USA event in South Bend, Indiana and simulcast (learn more about the event here).

I’m impressed by Justin’s confident humility–executing on an impressive vision for a rock-star event that grows each year, along with the humility to find new ways to serve.

One simple tactic to give your team an edge.

Sometimes a leader needs to be the hammer. You strike a nail to put it in its proper place so that it can hold a structure together for decades. Other times you need to be the nail. Allow the hammer to strike you so that you can effectively support the structure. It’s impossible for the hammer to hold the structure together alone…the nail is his only hope. It’s also impossible for the nail to have any real impact or value to the home without being struck. Bad hammers ruin good nails. Bad nails get bent over the smallest swings.

Refuse to be offended today. Great leaders must strike the issues that disrupt progress and great team members need to be mature enough to receive the strike. When nails leave their place, the house falls apart. When hammers refuse to swing, nothing gets built. A bent nail eventually gets thrown away. A hammer that refuses to be swung is simply a paperweight.

The Brutal Truth

Taking offense or not taking offense is a choice. Each time a comment is directed at you or each time someone sends an email…you have a choice. We forget that fact. Offense is a choice. It’s a decision to allow yourself to become angry, bitter, resentful, hateful, etc.

What does it mean to take offense? You allowed another human being to get underneath your skin.

Here are the synonyms of the word “offense”:  annoyance, anger, resentment, indignation, irritation, exasperation, wrath, displeasure, animosity, vexation, ill feelings, disgruntlement, rage.

The problem with taking offense is that we think it will make us feel better about the situation. Or that being offended allows us to get back at that person. But the simple truth is this: We are the ones that are harboring all this negative energy.  It’s bottled inside of you. When you allow yourself to become offended, you begin to let anger, resentment, wrath, animosity, indignation to live inside your body. Carry “OFFENSE” inside you long enough and you are sure to show some physical & emotional symptoms due to the stress and pressure that it brings.

The Antidote to Being Offended

When you are offended, you are thinking and focusing on yourself.  When you are offended, you feel as though someone is attacking you personally and it’s easy to let your emotions take over.  The root of offense is PRIDE.  Offense happens because you are thinking too highly of yourself. The ROOT problem of getting OFFENDED by others or being OFFENSIVE to others is PRIDE.

Humility is the antidote that will cure your disease of pride.  In Good to Great, Jim Collins writes about the Level 5 Executive.  Extreme Humility is one of the two character traits of leaders that take their companies from Good to GREAT.  Pat Lencioni writes about humility in his book, The Ideal Team Player.  He says there are three virtues that create the best team members:  Humble, Hungry and Smart.  Out of the three, he says that being HUMBLE is the most important virtue of the three.  Proverbial wisdom even tells you that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.

Pride kills team chemistry.  Pride creates silos.  Pride is what causes leaders to think too highly of themselves.  Humility changes your perspective.  Humility causes your focus to go from ME to WE…..from “WHAT DO I THINK IS THE RIGHT STEP?” to “WHAT DO WE THINK IS THE RIGHT STEP?” from “WHAT DECISION WILL MAKE ME LOOK GOOD?” to “WHAT DECISION WILL MAKE US ACHIEVE OUR GOAL?”

A simple “Google” search definition of humility:  A modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.  As you practice the virtue of humility, you will become less and less offended by others and more and more concerned about helping others and your team succeed.  While this may not be a quick fix, humility allows you and your team to build a dynamic culture that will improve your team’s level of trust, transparency, and ability to solve complicated problems with others.

TAKE ACTION TODAY:

  • What can you do to live and lead with more humility at work and at home?
  • What relationships are at risk due to bitterness and offense?
  • What specific actions using humility can rebuild these key relationships?

Refuse to be offended by choosing to live with humility each day.

Winning Well Reflection

In Winning Well workshops, as leaders lower their guard and begin to discuss the real issues they face every day, one that inevitably comes up is what to do with people who get angry, upset, or offended when you truly haven’t done anything inappropriate. We appreciate Justin’s answer here:  humility. We frequently invite leaders to remember that you are not the center of anyone else’s universe. People’s behavior is generally about them, not about you. The exception, of course, is when you have treated someone inappropriately, broken your word, or hurt someone. Having the humility to own your behavior and apologize is just as important to build trust and enhance your relationships.

The Power of Community: Introducing the International Winning Well Leadership Symposium

Southeast Asia is one of the world’s fastest growing regions, yet nearly two-thirds of its executives say their organizations can’t develop leaders fast enough to capitalize on growth. To help bridge the gap, David Dye and I are taking our Winning Well message on tour to Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, and Thailand from late April through late May (more details here).

Highlights include our partnership with Thriving Talents for a L.E.A.D. Mastery Winning Well Masterclass; working with  C-level leaders and keynoting and presenting a C-level forum at the HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017; presenting at the  Asia Professional Speakers Convention 2017 in Singapore, the continent’s premier convention for professional trainers and facilitators; and philanthropic work and visits to our Winning Wells with Together We Can Change the World.

The Winning Well International Symposium

While we’re there, we’ve invited thought leaders from around the world to share their unique Winning Well insights in our Winning Well International Symposium hosted on Let’s Grow Leaders Blog.

What Is The Symposium?

Every weekday for five weeks, well-established thought leaders, award winning authors and speakers will be sharing their perspectives on the fundamental Winning Well principles of Confidence, Humility, Results and Relationships–in the form of blog posts, tools, and videos. We’ll also be including video interviews with Winning Well leaders we meet in Asia, as well as Brian Tracy who will also be keynoting at the HR Asia Summit.

We’re delighted to include thought leaders who’ve become dear colleagues and friends throughout our Winning Well journey. We open each post by sharing a bit about how we know each thought leader, and conclude with additional reflections on how their work aligns with our Winning Well approach to blending the bottom line with the human spirit.

How Do I Sign Up?

The symposium is FREE. If you’re already an LGL subscriber you will receive your normal Tuesday newsletter with links to all the Symposium posts for that week. However, if you would like to receive the insights “hot off the press” each day as they appear, sign up on the sidebar and you will a daily post every weekday for five weeks.   And if you have written a blog post that relates with one of those four themes, our May Frontline Festival is your chance to contribute!

The symposium offers a great exercise to do with your team.  Why not ask them to read each day’s/week’s post and when you next meet, share their favorite points and how they might be applied in your dynamic? Take a photo of your discussion group, send it to Beth@letsgrowleaders.com, and you may see it on our social media feeds!

We encourage conversation and dialogue as we continue to spread our mission of blending the bottom line with the human spirit around the world!