Recently I preached on the danger of pride. (You can watch that message HERE.)
If you follow this blog, you know I tend to think a great deal about leadership. I have a heart for developing good leadership in the church and in ministry. As I wrestled through this particular message preparation, I kept thinking about places I see pride creep into leadership; even my own leadership. If we are not careful, our attempt at good leadership will be derailed by the pride of our hearts.
Remember, “Pride goes before destruction.” (Proverbs 16:18)
Have you ever known (or been) a proud leader?
Refuses to listen to advice from others – Proud leaders “know it all.” Of course, that’s not reality, but it’s often their perception of reality. Certainly their pride causes them to want you to believe that is reality. Their attempt to perpetuate the perception of superiority causes them to ignore the wisdom of others.
Makes excuses for mistakes – Proud leaders refuse to admit their errors. They scoff at any insinuation a mistake was theirs and refuse ownership of the team’s failures. It’s always someone else’s fault when goals aren’t reached, mistakes are made or momentum stalls. They don’t learn from times of failure; they try to hide them.
Protects position at any cost – Proud leaders try to keep others from gaining power or influence. They limit people’s exposure and stifle leadership development. They tend to curtail information and keep power within an arms length of their control.
Takes complete credit for a team’s success – There is only one clear winner on a proud leader’s team . . . the proud leader. Proud leaders take the microphone first. They have their name on every award. They keep the prime, attention-gaining assignments for themselves. They make sure they are in the “right place at the right time,” so no one steals their potential for applause.
Fails to see personal shortcomings – The proud leader becomes immune to his or her own deficiencies. Pride keeps him or her from getting honest about their weaknesses with anyone, including themselves. Proud leaders are careful to present themselves as flawless, whether in personal appearance or job performance. They may go to extreme measures to cover up any hint of an insufficiency.
Solicits grandstanding on their behalf – You’ll know about a proud leader’s accomplishment. They’ll be the first to start the cheers on their behalf. Proud leaders say things which promote the receiving of positive encouragement or feedback. They’ve been known to stage things so it doesn’t look like they initiated the recognition.
Removes God out of the supreme position – The ultimate danger of a leader struggling with pride is to remove God from the seat of control. Proud leaders refuse to submit to the will of God, preferring to chart their own path.
What other dangers have you seen in proud leaders?
Be honest, do you see yourself struggling in any of these areas? Is pride an issue for you?
Remember, “Pride goes before destruction.”
Ron Edmondson is a church planter and pastor with a heart for strategy, leadership, and marketing. He blogs almost daily at ronedmondson.com on leadership, church and family.