This third installment of the Trilogy of Mercy is The Saga of the Least of These. It was inspired by an encounter with a former classmate. It teaches us to be mindful of the personality of Jesus and His intent for His followers to model love and compassion for everyone.
Pharmaceutical sales representatives are familiar with the customer referred to as the “Know-it-all doctor.” The connotation was not just a physician who knew everything, but an individual who was arrogant and spoke to people in a condescending manner. There was a feeling of superiority which made it difficult to deal with others. The air of arrogance made it hard to be effective as a leader. The person who knows everything and feels no one can teach them anything, is difficult to talk to and may not be open to receiving important information.
Many times, we use arrogance to cover-up for an insecurity. We don’t want people to recognize a deficiency in some aspect of our behavior and we do not wish to be challenged. On other occasions we do not wish to be questioned because we feel we are better than everyone. Humility is not a skill that makes them comfortable.
When you make the commitment to move beyond arrogance, it must be done with authenticity. Here is an example of what not to do. A manager received feedback that addressed his arrogance of feeling he was always right. It revealed that he did not listen to his direct reports, did not solicit their comments, but when they were given, he would not value or use them. It was described as follows.
He would adopt the stance of a good listener, someone concerned about his staff’s point of view. He would lean forward, establish direct eye contact and use transitional phrases such as, go on, is that so, I did not know that and tell me more. At the conclusion, he would thank them for their courage and valuable input. He would close by saying, he was glad to have the opportunity to know how they felt, but he would continue with his idea and the original plan. His subordinates were confused and wondered why ask for their opinions and bother going through such a pointless exercise. His actions curtailed their ideas and reduced trust. Why give comments if they did not matter?
Personalize your actions to prevent arrogant behavior by focusing on these areas.
Beware of arrogant tendencies.
Listen to others.
Involve others in your decision making
Include their ideas to show you value their suggestions
Do not respond in a threatening manner when you don’t like what you hear
People do not wish to support the arrogant person. They may withhold information. They may watch someone go down the wrong path and remain silent. They will surely not give them their best effort. They will do just enough to keep their jobs. They will engage in OMDB (Over My Dead Body) behavior and thinking. Review the poem below and reflect on it and discuss with others.
Many of us may be blind to our arrogant ways. In order to change we must be open to critical remarks without taking them personally. Act as if people may feel you are arrogant, and request insight. A manager read the poem below and was offended, for it struck a nerve. He was offended by the content because he thought I was speaking to him. However, members of his staff contacted me and confirmed that it was an accurate depiction of his arrogant leadership style. Let’s act as if this might be the case. Remove personal anxiety and allow people the opportunity to give you comments that are good for everyone.
Ego as defined by Webster’s New Riverside University Dictionary is the personality component that is conscious, most directly control behavior, and is most in touch with external reality is also referred to as self-love, self-confidence and self-esteem. Ego is also referred to as the part of us that feels threatened when we feel insecure, arrogant and caught up in ourselves. Ego also serves as another barrier in the gauntlet that we must face as individuals and as leaders.
There is a cycle of response that people use to protect their self-image or their ego. I watched people lash out to guard their ego when they sense danger is present. They want desperately for their ego to succeed and flourish. The ego has;
An image – a face, which must be saved
The ego is a repository of who we are.
The ego requires
When feeling threatened, attacked or ridiculed, a force field is activated that launches a counter response to protect the person.
President Harry S Truman said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” This quote reflects directly on the ego. Another quotation comes from Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander in their book, The Art of Possibility, where they write about Rule #6. People tend to get so caught up in their ego and in themselves that they must periodically be reminded of rule number six. There are no rules one through five, a rule number six simply don’t take yourself too seriously. They use slightly more colorful language, but this is the essence of the rule.
During your workday, think of individuals and situations where you are inclined to evoke your ego. Visualize the individuals and the situations, and mentally rehearse how you will interact with them.