5 ways pride could get in your way.

Many have heard of the “Seven Deadly Sins,” but there is one that stands out as most damaging to your company.

I’m talking about pride.

And when I refer to “pride,” I don’t mean a sense of accomplishment or an acknowledgment of abilities. In this context, pride is when self-sufficiency crosses the line into harmful delusion.

Does this sound familiar? A talented leader whose greatest downfall is their inability to overcome their own pride. Though it hurts the staff, customers, and bottom line, this leader can never admit failure, defeat, or incompetence. 

But, what if that same leader could learn to set aside their pride? What if he or she turned to someone for consultation, putting the success of the company ahead of their own personal insecurities?

In the growing gig economy (which I wrote about here), leaders and companies now have access to numerous consultant and freelance options. The leader who takes advantage of these opportunities, however, must overcome their natural human tendency toward pride. All the talent and ambition in the world cannot make up for a “my way or the highway” attitude.

As Joel Barker put it, “Vision without action is merely a dream.” A leader’s vision alone cannot move the company forward if their pride is keeping them from taking productive steps toward improvement and growth. Personal glory is set aside to move the company’s dreams into an actual vision that generates future success for everyone involved.

So how can you tell if pride is getting in the way? As a consultant, I offer these insights from years of experience, along with suggestions for how a consultant could help a company work through these challenges. Here are just a few signs to watch out for:

1. Lack of Team Recognition

 Has this ever happened to you? You’re on a team that works diligently to achieve a goal. When that goal is accomplished, you watch in horror as the boss takes all the credit. They don’t even mention the efforts of the team! Or, embarrassingly, perhaps you’ve been that boss?

This is a classic sign of harmful pride within the organization. While we all hope to achieve a good reputation and acclaim for our efforts in the workplace, obsession with personal recognition can do lasting damage to the company’s morale and culture.

A consultant can objectively identify this problem and provide a solution for the business. As a consultant is motivated by the growth and healthy results of the entire company, they are less concerned with personal achievement and status.

2. Lack of Flexibility

Another common sign of pride is when a leader refuses to consider alternatives to their own plan or vision. Beyond the normal human tendency to prefer our own plans, this inflexibility keeps the company from making necessary changes or addressing the leader’s blind spots.

One of the greatest benefits of consultants is their unbiased commitment (read more on bias in business) to finding the right solution and offering steps to execute that solution. A successful company-consultant relationship revolves around bringing out the very best of everyone involved. When a leader’s pride tempts them to believe they have all the answers, an experienced consultant can validate or challenge the strategy, backed by years of experience. Who doesn’t want that wealth of knowledge at their company’s disposal?

3. Lack of Delegation

We’ve all been there—tasked with a challenge and tempted to say, “It will be easier if I just do it by myself.” While this may not always look like pride at first, it’s often a sign that pride is a motivating factor. A leader or supervisor who consistently refuses to delegate to capable team members, believing they are the only ones who can accomplish the task, often keep the company from reaching its potential.

Since the consultant’s priority is increased productivity, they can easily spot where and how lack of delegation is creating a bottleneck effect within the business. As they evaluate staff, tasks, and workloads, their suggestions can increase successful completion of goals and employee satisfaction. Pride will drive the leader to work harder, but less efficiently. Delegation will ensure everyone is participating at maximum productivity.

4. Lack of Trust

When you think about your company, would you say the staff is free to do what they were hired to do? Are they being allowing to work in a healthy environment that trusts them with their skills? Micromanagement, another sign of pride, suffocates staff and wastes precious company time.

We see this clearly within the gig economy. The business leaders who feel they must directly supervise every worker at all times lose out on potential time- and energy-saving opportunities. Leaders who embrace remote workers, when possible, show a marked increase in productivity. They challenge the prideful concept of “needing to be needed,” and trust workers to do their jobs well.

By hiring a consultant, a company leader is unlocking that trust. Consultants do not need to be micromanaged; in fact, they point out where it’s happening! The trust that is established between a consultant and a company has a ripple effect—bringing greater trust and freedom to the entire workplace.

5. Lack of Receptivity

I don’t know about you, but I have received some scathing criticism in the past. Each time it happens, I’m left with the choice: to be offended, or to listen for helpful advice within the critique. Pride encourages the leader to dismiss all criticism, to be offended or angry instead of open to sincere feedback. A healthy leader will not allow their personal insecurities to keep them from pursuing the best for their company.

But how do we know if the criticism is truly beneficial? A consultant can help generate and organize feedback so that it provides maximum benefit to your business. As a consultant’s sole motivation is the increased growth of the company, you can trust their insight. Don’t let pride keep you from gathering vital feedback—contact a consultant for a critique you can trust.

Pride, this deadliest sin in a company, can dismantle trust, productivity, and creativity. As you evaluate your company’s challenges, consider the role pride is playing in preventing a solution. Finally, don’t let pride keep you from investing in outside help. A&A Business Consulting has years of experience to offer your company. If you’ve ever considered hiring a business consultant, don’t hesitate to take that next step! Contact us here.