Leadership is an alluring destination. 

You think you want it. But asking for it seems arrogant. You are happy when you have it. But discussing your position may show a lack of tact. 

And while healthy confidence might open a door of opportunity, arrogance will shut it again just as quickly. 

For a team leader or executive, it is important to learn the difference between arrogance and confidence. The former will strengthen the organization. The latter will rot it from the inside. Teams  enthusiastically rally to serve a confident leader. But when the leader is prideful, teams spiral into low morale and decreased productivity. 

One of the most dangerous transitions for a healthy, thriving team is when leadership crosses over from confidence into arrogance.  Leaders whose confidence was once the life-blood of the organization often trade the cure for the infectious disease — pride and egotism. 

What is a leader to do if they want to get the balance right? 

1. Listen more. Active and responsive listening is the most obvious outward sign of humility. 

2. Talk less about yourself. Whether in the office or around the social circle, you should be concerned if you think you have the most to offer in the way of wisdom and entertainment.  The Proverbs puts it starkly, “If you have been foolish, exalting yourself, or if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth.” (Proverbs 30:32)

3. Fight the right battles. When confidence turns to arrogance, it reveals ignorance. Humility helps a leader wisely identify obstacles to correct. Arrogance clouds judgment and makes costly villains out of vendettas.

4. Build the right team. When your inner circle is built to challenge, correct, and coach you, then your leadership reflects refined confidence. But when you have abandoned wise counselors for sycophants and boot-lickers, it’s probably true your organization is crumbling under the weight of absent leadership.

You can thrive in confidence while rejecting the high price of arrogant leadership. That is the principle of the upside down business idea: Humility is the fruit of confidence.  

Don’t hesitate. Seek humility today.

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