Pride is one of those words that in modern times has been so watered down that it is often misused and misunderstood. Common misuses today include: “I pride myself on”, “we’re so proud of”, and “they’re proud to be”. Common misunderstandings today include: “it’s good to have pride in something or to be proud of someone”, “one’s pride doesn’t hurt one’s relationships others”, and “pride is good”. Nothing truly great can ever be accomplished in our personal or professional lives with pride. Many people have forgotten what pride is and how toxic it is in all things – but, especially in Executive Leadership.
To better understand what pride really is and why it is so negative in leadership, let’s start with the basics: its definition. According to the Merriam-Webster, pride is the quality or state of being proud (e.g. inordinate self-esteem – e.g. conceit), a justifiable self-respect, a delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship, and a proud or disdainful behavior or treatment – e.g. disdain). While conceit and disdain are obviously not positive attributes, to find in a leader, pride has somehow slithered into modern times as something to relish in to some degree. But as we found-out in our earliest His-story Book, pride is what started the biggest fall of a leader ever recorded. So, if pride is the antithesis of success, what is the antithesis of pride? Humility…
People often question how can an Executive Leader be successful if they aren’t being proud – or, in other words, focused on what they and their Teams are doing. Humility is really more about shifting that “focus” upon others. Famous Author and Christian Apologetic C.S. Lewis once said that, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” When we focus on others (clients, customers, team members, employees, shareholders, competitors, etc.) before focusing on ourselves, we start to see a world outside of ourselves. And, more importantly, people and perspectives that really truly matter in all regards. This doesn’t mean that a Leader doesn’t “lead” – it just means that they “listen” before they lead; that they start with a solid foundation. Saint Augustine said, “Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.”
The best Executives are usually the most humble Executives. They know that they can’t do it all alone, that they don’t know everything, that success is sweeter when shared than hoarded, and life, in general, is all about teamwork. Even Jesus Christ, God incarnated on earth, led humbly after assembling His Apostles and Church on earth – and always put His Children’s needs ahead of His own.
Ken Blanchard, a renowned speaker, author and consultant who, in 2005, was was inducted into Amazon’s Hall of Fame as one of the top 25 bestselling authors of all time, put it bluntly in his book, “Lead Like Jesus“, “The more I read the Bible, the more evident it becomes that everything I have ever taught or written about effective leadership over the past 25 years, Jesus did to perfection. He is simply the greatest leadership role model of all time.”
In the Executive world, it is critical that Leaders put others before themselves and lead by example. Robert K. Greenleaf, the founder of the modern servant leadership movement and the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership once said that, “good leaders must first become good servants”. If someone doesn’t become a good servant, they will never understand the people they are trying to serve. He has also shared that, “Ego can’t sleep. It micro-manages. It disempowers. It reduces our capability. It excels in control.”
In a world that often seems out of control, a prudent posture of serenity is very much welcomed and overwhelmingly-needed. For those looking to be on the fast-track in their Executive careers, they should first look on the outside before continuing to try to grow on the inside. The best constructive pruning comes when we serve and listen others putting their needs ahead of our own – and, without pruning, nobody grows. A former General Electric Executive once told me, “Don’t worry about the numbers. Do the right things and the numbers will take care of themselves.” I’ve never forgotten that and it’s rang true for me and for thousands of others who put others, especially Jesus, ahead of their own initiatives. It only takes somebody simply swallowing their bitter-pride in order for them to be able to enjoy the sweet-humbleness that flows Eternally.
Maccabeus’ Partners “Genesis-ed” from direct industry careers and actual working knowledge. It’s through that knowledge, experience, and wisdom that we’re able to maximize our own revelations of the Executive Recruiting process and minimize having to replace formerly placed Executives. We see each and every executive (person) as the Gift from God that they are and Maccabeus routinely works to get to know the Clients, Executives, and Executive’s Families first-hand. Maccabeus understands what it’s like to relocate for a new career challenge (including move Children and Grandparents) – to be going to a new Company starting a new job in a new town/city possibly in a new state/country (and away from extended Family) with potential new local and national customs and ways of doing business, etc. We’ve worked across the U.S. States and in many countries in North and South America, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand. We know how critical a new hire is and what success and/or failure in that role means first hand.
The highest integrity is key to all that we do at Maccabeus. We report first and foremost to God and then to our Clients and Executive Candidates. We are 100% transparent in our approach on all fronts. We tell everyone what we know and don’t try to “force” deals to take place. We fundamentally Trust that, if we are Faithful in working as hard as possible on our parts, that the outcomes that are meant to happen will. Maccabeus leverages many different approaches; including the principles found in “Lead Like Jesus” by Ken Blanchard.
In addition to “Lead Like Jesus” , Maccabeus leverages the “1.5-3 Principle”. By being straight-forward and honest with everyone, our Clients and Candidates typically meet each other within 1.5 – 3 weeks of starting a search project. Clients should also expect to complete searches with Maccabeus within 1.5 – 3 months. While our “shock-and-awe” approach in the market is industry leading, we continue to run “through the finish line” continuing to bring more Candidates to the Client throughout the process.
Maccabeus doesn’t believe in any hidden, indirect, or uptick costs. Clients pay Maccabeus a fixed fee for an Executive search project. The fee is divided into a working retainer on the front end of the search (billed in multiple installments) to support our efforts in the market on Clients’ behalf(s); virtually eliminating surprises.
Maccabeus believes in God, our Firm, and our process. We will continue to work on the search as long as it takes and will replace Executives should something change on the Client’s end(s) for up to the replacement terms needed by our Clients. Finding the right Operating and Board Executives takes a tenacity to see through the surface of experiences and to look into the intangibles behind who a leader really is as a person. Maccabeus is committed to and has a strong track record of recruiting and placing to top Executives (for all functional areas) and Board Directors and Chairs across a diverse landscape of industries. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with you and your Board.
“It was pride that changed Angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as Angels.”St. Augustine