The leadership road is loaded with dangers, potholes and landmines. Dan Rockwell shares the biggest danger of all.

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell

Self-importance is behind most of the stupid things leaders do.

Be careful and be honest

Self-importance keeps leaders ignorant and isolated.

Self-importance blinds you to your weaknesses and distorts your view of strength in others. Even insecurity is a symptom of self-importance.

Self-importance is the biggest danger in leadership. 

Self-important leaders:

  1. Live with a sense of under-appreciation. Others don’t fully appreciate the splendor of self-important leaders.
  2. Love to be noticed and need acknowledgement.
  3. Expect agreement. Self-important leaders feel offended when challenged. Self-important leaders always have THE answer.
  4. Idolize the trappings of power. Corner offices, executive limousines, and being rushed to the head of the line seduces leaders to look down on the little people.
  5. Support weak team members who aren’t a threat, but compete with competent colleagues. How do you feel when colleagues receive praise but you don’t?
  6. Work to advance themselves even if it disadvantages the team.
  7. Bristle at being under authority. Qualified boards are enemies to self-important leaders.

7 suggestions to solve self-importance:

#1. Be important enough to make others important.

In order to make a difference in the world, you must believe you have something to offer. But remember, you have two or three remarkable qualities. Everything else you have is average or below.

#2. Let others win. Better yet, help them win.

#3. Stop comparing yourself with others.

Everyone loses the game of WHO HAS THE MOST TOYS.

#4. Show up to serve.

#5. Admire everyone on the team.

Reflect on people’s strengths more frequently than you ruminate on their weaknesses. Invite everyone in for a THIS IS WHAT I ADMIRE ABOUT YOU conversation. Don’t add a few weaknesses at the end.

#6. Realize leaders are nothing without the people they serve.

#7. Acknowledge the temptation of self-importance. 

What symptoms of self-importance do you see in leaders?

How might leaders overcome self-importance?