“Arrogance diminishes wisdom.”
Here is one of those delicate balancing acts. A leader has to be confident – but not arrogant.
Confidence spreads like wildfire. A confident person will energize followers. A confident person will lead to decisive actions by all who follow. A confident person will recruit willing, eager followers.
But…an arrogant person will breed resentment, and the “followers” will be anything but eager.
I thought of all this as I read the opening lines of Hit the Ground Running by Jason Jennings. He begins the book with a call to decisive action. He speaks of decisiveness – of decisive action from the very beginning:
Every manager or leader needs to hit the ground running!
When you’re given the opportunity to take charge and you get it right, you put yourself on the your leadership’s radar. Do it right a second time and you’ll become known as a go-to manager who can be trusted to deliver results.
But if you don’t get it right, you’ll join a long list of question marks at your company.
…it’s imperative that you know how to get up to speed, make good decisions, quickly, and begin producing results fast.
Al of this flows from a person who exudes self-confidence: confidence about his/her own abilities, confidence about outcomes, confidence about processes.
But, confidence in yourself, and in the abilities of the people you lead…without arrogance. That is the challenge.
From Sara: Open letter to Jerry Jones: “Jerry, I heard you interviewed on TV last night and you were asked about the chemistry of the Cowboys football team. You basically told the reporters that good chemistry would happen when the team wins. You went on to explain that bad chemistry is to be expected when the team loses…in fact, I think your conclusion was that “chemistry” isn’t important in your locker room. I am not surprised the enormous talents of these athletes don’t translate into a winning team. Do you hear your own message, Jerry? You are devaluing the very element that your game is missing – being a team. You can’t just pay people and expect them to be a team. There are so many directions to take the conversation from here! I could point you towards building teamwork by reading Good to Great by Jim Collins; or talk about the responsibility the leader has to results as described in Primal Leadership by Goleman, Boyatzis, McKee. (BTW, those are both relevant topics for the Cowboy organization.) In my role as executive coach, I would ask you “How are you regarding the players?” You seem to view them as objects; you pay them so they should do what you want. Martin Buber the 20th century philosopher calls that an “I-It” relationship. That’s where you treat people as commodities, not as people. There is better way. It is to see and treat people like people. Want to win the Super Bowl? Read Leadership and Self Deception by the Arbinger Institute and give me a call.
Cheryl Adds: Most people might tell you that it wasn’t the words you spoke last night in that interview that they recall, it was the emotions you displayed. There was arrogance and blame plain as day. It was the underlying tone saying, in other words “It’s not my fault; blame someone else.” And what great justification you have for feeling that way; after all, you pay all the money so it must be someone else’s fault. What’s missing is the acknowledgement that emotions are contagious as pointed out in Resonant Leadership by Annie McKee and Richard Boyatzis. This translates into an emotional viral infection of the team where every member of the Cowboys now has permission to say and worse, feel the same way. Any time a group is saying to themselves, “It’s someone else’s fault for this result”, in your case losing, then the culture created is one of blame and no trust. How can team members work together effectively with no trust? And who is working on taking responsibility and thus working on a solution to this problem if they are busy pointing fingers towards their team mates? There will never be accountability if the leader is not accountable, visibly and emotionally. As McKee, Boyatzis, and Goleman point out in Primal Leadership, “The glue that holds people together in a team, and that commits people to an organization, is the emotions they feel.” Still think chemistry isn’t important in the locker room, Big J?