Sunday, August 8, 2010

Listening Leaders Analyze & Avoid The Arrogant

Listening Leaders® will benefit by identifying and analyzing the arrogant who walk amongst us. Unfortunately the arrogant are numerous, but fortunately they are easy to spot, as they consistently need to be right. Their focus is on self and not on others. Or, as the British novelist, George Eliot wrote, "He was like a cock who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow." In their arrogance they simply do not listen, and, although some would find them of little value, I am reminded of my father's wise observation: " No one is completely worthless, for you can always use them as a bad example."

Consequently, productive Listening Leaders® will profit by studying, and consciously avoiding, the negative attitudes and behaviors of arrogant individuals. These include such behaviors as offensive displays of superiority and self-importance. The arrogant are overbearing, haughty, high-handed, insolent, and smug. They suffer from an exaggerated self- opinion, conceitedness, egotism, pomposity, and vanity.

As the arrogant believe they hold all the answers, they fail to listen to others. Worst of all, arrogant individuals can be found at all levels of leadership and in all kinds of organizations. Although they cannot be avoided, their behavior can be identified and neutralized to some extent. First, Listening Leaders® must provide a positive role model for the arrogant in their midst. Second, the arrogant must be made aware of the negative impact of their attitudes and behaviors. Third, wherein possible, there must be significant consequences for continued negative arrogant behavior. For when arrogant individuals are in positions of power, they never listen, and everyone suffers. Simply put, when self-centered arrogant individuals refuse to listen, they will fail to be promoted, elected or re-elected, and, or embraced. Worst of all, others will cease any and all attempts to engage in productive dialog. When that happens, no one listens and communication fails.

Listening Leaders - Analyze And Avoid The Arrogant.

Leaders fail when their hubris and arrogance gets in the way of listening to those they would like to lead. Unfortunately the arrogant admit no doubt or error. They believe their views and opinions are the only correct views and opinions. Moreover, they believe in the riches of their mind, unaware of Mark Twain's opinion that, "The offspring of riches are: Pride, vanity, ostentation, arrogance, and tyranny."

Arrogant individuals see no weaknesses in themselves and constantly seek to find flaws in others. As a consequence they display no respect for the views of others and thus poison relationships and connections at all levels. From their perspective listening to others is a waste of time and energy, and thus unnecessary. When unchecked over time individuals and organizations ultimately fail.

Fortunately Jim Collins latest book, How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In provides a thoughtful antidote. Collins' outlines five stages of organizational decline, beginning with "Hubris Born of Success" wherein leaders become arrogant, regard success virtually as an entitlement, and suffer from "arrogant neglect." If, and when, such hubris is ignored it inevitably leads to the second stage of "Undisciplined Pursuit of More."

When arrogance remains unchecked, Collins research indicates it is a slippery slope to the third stage of "Denial of Risk and Peril" and the fourth stage of "Grasping for Salvation." Although organizations can survive the fourth stage, arrogant leaders will inevitably experience the fifth stage, "Capitulation to Irrelevance Or Death." Thus one thing is clear: arrogance destroys listening, and the opportunity to find real solutions. Ultimate triumph in trying times calls for Listening Leaders® who are willing and able to listen beyond themselves. Leaders who control the negative behaviors of Stage One will avoid the unpleasant experiences that lie ahead in Stages Two through Five. For that everyone should be grateful.

Listening Leaders Tip Of The Week: Check Your Arrogance At The Door.

Golden Circle Listening Leaders Quotes Of The Week:

  • Arrogance diminishes wisdom ~ Arabian Proverb
  • The truest characters of ignorance are vanity, and pride and arrogance ~ Samuel Butler
  • The need to be right is a sign of a vulgar mind ~ Albert Camus
  • We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility ~ Rabindranath Tagore
  • The arrogance of age must submit to be taught by youth ~ Edmund Burke
  • Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth ~ Matthew 5:5
  • The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom ~ H. L. Mencken
  • It is in self-limitation that a master first shows himself ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • I have discovered that all human evil comes from man's being unable to sit still and quiet in a room alone ~ Blaise Pascal
  • It is in self-limitation that a master first shows himself ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Live simply, that others may simply live ~ Mohandas Gandhi
  • It's what you learn after you know it all that's important ~ Jimmy Williams

A Listening Leader Giggle:

Long time subscriber to the Listening Leader Newsletter, Pastor Doug Neiner reminds us that some parents who assume they have all the answers sometimes fail to understand the questions.

The story is told of an 8-year-old girl who found her dad working in their yard and asked: "Daddy, what is sex?" The father was taken aback, but decided that if she was old enough to ask the question, then she was old enough to get a straight answer.

He proceeded to explain everything about the birds and the bees and when he finished, his little daughter just looked at him with a very puzzled look. Somewhat confused, the father asked, "Could you tell me why you asked me about that?"

Still dumfounded, the little girl replied, "Mom told me to tell you that dinner would be ready in just a couple of secs."

Listening Leaders Kudos

Congratulations to Jim Collins and his productive research team. Understanding how important listening is in avoiding both the fall and the rising from the ashes, Collins remarkable collection of potent stories will pave the way to the high road for countless leaders. Kudos to Jim Collins for understanding that listening is the foundation plate for all successful leadership activities.

Thanks to Listening Leadership Institute