Pride and Humility


My son has been doing a lot of summer reading. C. S. Lewis in particular (The Great Divorce, Mere  Christainity, Screwtape Letters) and books on leadership by Jim Collins, Kouzes and Posner and Lencioni. Late last night he said, "In these books, pride and humility is the main thing." I thought about it for a minute and agreed with him. Pride and humility are at the center of life, relationships, work, leadership . . .

Pride is that Original Sin. It is the "mother-lode" of all that has gone wrong in the world. It is the slumbering Smaug, that when awakened, wrecks havoc and ruin. Pride has ended careers, destroyed families, and robbed bright futures. It limits a life and it disrupts an organization. No wonder the best authors write about pride.

And yet . . . there is a place for healthy ego, for genuine self-confidence, for authentic self-esteem. When we lack these things, we live in fear, we stay in our zones of comfort, we shrink from challenges, we avoid opportunities, and we fear failure. Without confidence we live Diminished Lives. Without confidence - you will never be an effective leader.

Still -- it is a mighty THIN LINE between the two (Jack Welch).

Fortunately, there are practices and perspectives that can help you walk that line.

  1. Regular self-examination.
  2. The deisre to truly know who you are.
  3. The use of a 360 degree feedback from those around you.
  4. The presence of supportive friends who will "speak truth in love."
  5. A healthy organization where mistakes and failures (an appropriate number of them) are learning opportunities.
  6. A growing intimacy with the God of Grace and Love.
  7. A deepening experience of your true identity in God.
  8. A chief end that is not about your own agenda, but for the glory of God and the growth of His Beautiful Kingdom.
  9. Wise mentors and guides.

These things help me.

Still -- it is a MIGHTY thin line between pride and confidence. One you must learn to walk.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International
BrianRice@lcileaders.org