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Protecting Against Hubris
Whenever success produces an unreasonable feeling of pride and confidence for future performance, hubris establishes a foothold in how leaders think about and project themselves.
Leaders with hubris think of themselves as superior to others and so special as to be infallible. This excessive pride is not only off-putting, but usually results in short-sighted, even reckless, decisions.
Overestimating their abilities, knowledge, importance, and likelihood of success, leaders with hubris fail to see the obstacles and roadblocks in their way. As a result, their decisions often lead to disastrous outcomes that could have been easily avoided.
For leaders, hubris is often associated with unethical behavior, the misallocation of resources, and the denial of innovations that will likely disrupt current success.
It comes as no surprise that leaders who commonly project hubris are disliked by those around them. Because leaders with hubris think of themselves as better and smarter than everyone else, they generally ignore the negative reactions others have to them — yet another sign of hubris!
Guarding against such excessive pride and confidence is essential for leaders, especially highly successful ones. Regular performance reviews, where leaders receive a check-up from the neck-up, help to protect against hubris. Leaders who haven’t recently received candid evaluations from others are much more susceptible to excessive confidence.
Encouraging others to offer candid and unfiltered assessments of the decision process also assists leaders who want to guard against hubris. When trusted team members help ground leaders in reality by reminding them to see the whole field, replete with obstacles, they provide an invaluable service and improve decision-making.
The dangers of hubris are well known, and need to be avoided. Leaders with high self-esteem and who project confidence have nothing to fear, unless they allow their pride to escape the normal constraints of reality.
Remember that confidence isn’t thinking you are better than everyone else. True confidence is realizing that you have no reason to compare yourself to anyone else but you.