Avoid being put on a pedestal by yourself or by others. I’ve seen good people get too full of themselves when they begin to view themselves as extra special and different from everyone else. In happens in all industries and in all sectors. Nonprofit leaders certainly aren’t excluded. It is never good for any of us to be surrounded by people who are too deferential. Success without humility typically leads to ego issues. I’m not saying we shouldn’t value or respect accomplishment, but we shouldn’t put a disproportionate emphasis on the attributes of the person. Superlative outcomes are usually the result of good timing, hard work and specialized focus not generic ability. In addition, doing good work that taps into your unique talents makes a positive difference in the lives of others should be enough of a reward. Don’t get too caught up with celebrating YOU.
We all know the danger of rushing to quick judgments or making false assumptions about things, but we continue to do it anyway. I’ve heard many speakers talk about the reptilian portion of our brain that is focused solely on survival and keeping us out of harms way. In essence, we are hardwired for self-protection. However, in a world where our day to day survival is rarely in question, we need to be careful about allowing the most primal part of our thought process to have too much control. A knee jerk or gut reaction to stimuli is often not a wise strategy and can actually end up being problematic.
I often meet business owners/leaders who think they have it all figured out. Whenever this happens a red flag goes up for me right away. The best leaders I know are in a constant learning mode. They are very aware of what they don’t know and need to learn. They soak up information like a sponge and are energized by new thoughts and ideas. Leaders who are unwilling to admit their own shortcomings or lack of knowledge are eventually confronted with the very reality they are ignoring. It may take time, but it always happens. It’s even worse if they are completely unaware of where they fall short and end up getting blindsided. In leadership positions, ignorance is not bliss.
I’ve seen many talented leaders and managers get in their own way when it comes to getting their point across. They almost seem oblivious or worse indifferent to the vibe in the room and how their message is being received. You can be right, but alienate other people if you are not careful. How you communicate can often be as important as what you communicate. Going all the way back to our grade schools days, nobody likes a “know it all.” Arrogance is a very unattractive personality trait. We all pay close attention to how those in positions of authority treat other people.