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3 Signs You’re Letting Pride Get in the Way of Being Successful


Pride? Being driven and focused doesn’t necessarily translate into great interpersonal skills.

You may be a newly minted entrepreneur who just launched a start-up company. Or a seasoned business leader who’s running a multi-billion-Cedis  enterprise. Both strive to hear the words, I’m proud of you. But what happens when you become obsessed with that empowering statement? That you only strive to hear these compliments from other people?

Many psychologists argue that pride is a self-conscious emotion that evokes two facets of emotional responses:

  1. Authentic pride is the primary emotion that is derived from the joy and excitement of accomplishing a personal, financial or professional goal.
  2. Hubristic pride is the secondary emotion that is derived from envy, frustration and jealousy. This form of emotion stems from the ego and arrogance that was cultivated from the primary emotion.

Pride has proven to be a powerful trait used to influence people. Some tend to abuse it and others tend to keep it in check. As an entrepreneur, taking a bit of pride is not always a problem. It’s okay to have a good sense of pride. However, the excessive use of pride can be an issue. Here are the three disadvantages of having an overabundance of pride:

1. Shutting other colleagues out

Although words of affirmation can satisfy one’s ego, such words of endearment can make people a prisoner of their actions, rights and decisions. Pride can provoke an entrepreneur to shut out other executive managers and board members. This in turn can result in killing the progress of their company from the connections, ideas and various perspectives that their contemporaries have to offer.

Entrepreneurs can abuse their pride by provoking irrational behavior. They spend time and effort influencing good people to veer away from doing what is more ethical and legal for the company.


2. Refusing to apologize even when you should

There are times when you may be due an apology and there are times when you owe someone an apology. If you are blinded by pride, you are likely to be impacted by the simple gesture of saying I’m sorry and admitting that you were wrong in certain situations.

It is not the end of the world if you feel as though someone is correct. However, it can be debilitating if you cannot apologize when you did something wrong and move on from that mistake.

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3. Not rooting for your colleague’s success

Business leaders with an oversupply of pride do not root for other people’s success within the workplace. They have a zero-sum mindset and invoke jealousy whenever their colleague is succeeding. Additionally, they are willing to let someone else fail so they can walk over them and succeed in their place to feed their pride.

Assuredly, this type of mindset never ends well because these people will fall off their high horses and end up failing miserably. The embarrassment of the overly prideful professional may be the best solution. Pride is one of the seven deadly sins that drive many managerial leaders away from pursuing their personal and business goals.

In contrast, shame is the greatest equalizer to pride. Shame is the administrative angel that constantly reminds us to stay humble and appreciate all the hard work that led up to our success. Studies show that shame is an emotional reaction that is associated with the necessity to withdraw from public interaction. That’s because nothing can be done immediately to repair the damage to a person’s image and value.

Unfortunately, many business leaders do not get a chance to encounter their angels until it is time to reap the consequences of their prideful impulses. Before we know it, we are forced to live with the valuable lessons from our tainted past as it is too late to make amends for past misdeeds.

Feeling shame is what keeps us connected to our actions, making us aware of when we may push things too far. When an excess of pride is left unattended, shame is summoned as divine intervention, pulling us back from the path of our own self-destruction.


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Samuel Kwame Boadu