I’m Arrogant! 14 Principles I Use To Reduce My Arrogance

I recently presented a Keynote titled “The 8 Attributes of Character Defined in Great Leaders”.  The talk was not intended to identify past and present Great Leaders, although there are many, rather it was designed to provide information so individuals could evaluate their current character and consider the adjustments required to achieve the character needed to become a Great Leader.

In the talk, I identified “Humility” as being one of the attributes found in Great Leaders.   Leaders are typically those who have ambition, are talented and confident when making decisions and interacting with people.  But I bet when most of us think of leaders, we don’t typically describe them with the word “humility” or use the term, “humble.”  If they did, it might not be viewed as a compliment.

One of the toughest things about teaching and speaking on leadership topics is the conscience guilt that follows you around when you are not following your own words, principles, and practices you teach or talk about. This is something I really appreciate. Because it drives me to always look at ways I can increase my influence and become a better leader.

As I continue to evaluate my leadership and my approach to people, problems, and solutions, I find myself dealing with a little of arrogance and pride. I believe I would consider myself just a bit arrogant.  Well, maybe even a bit more than a bit, depending on who you talk to.

Male manager calling his colleague

So I have been focusing on how I lessen my arrogance and replace it with more humility? The identified 14 principles that help me to lessen my arrogance and focus on my humility. It is a work in progress, and I often slip back one or two steps. But I feel it’s working.

  1. Don’t think of someone else when reading this blog.
  2. Recognize your arrogance.
  3. Know what you don’t know and admit it.
  4. Step in someone’s else’s shoes that you interact with on a daily basis and those who interact periodically.
  5. Dig deep into not so positive feedback.
  6. Acknowledge those who helped you get where you are or where you are going.
  7. Shut up and listen!
  8. Engage in conversations by asking questions.
  9. Walk around looking for things to celebrate.
  10. Quickly admit when you are wrong.
  11. Be quick to forgive and show grace to others.
  12. Be purposeful in speaking well about others.
  13. Take a seat at the lower table.
  14. Focus on strengthening relationships, not just results.

The great college basketball coach John Wooden often told his players, “Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be thankful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

C.S. Lewis said this, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

 I believe humility is the antidote to arrogance. Arrogance will cause a person to fall and ultimately fail.  Humility will cause a person to rise as they fail.  People want to follow humble leaders.

So I end with a bit of a hope……May you make an everyday choice to lessen your arrogance and give credit where credit is due and acknowledge others for your success.  May you admit when you are wrong and know what you don’t know.

 If we can honestly accomplish this, then we can continue our growth as leaders.  But never forget this, IT’s NOT ABOUT YOU………..IT REALLY ISN’T!!!

Humility wooden sign on a beautiful day

Influential Leaders Never Use These Phrases

Believe me when I tell you that I can offend even when it is meant for praise. We’ve all said things that people interpreted much differently than we thought they would. These seemingly benign comments lead to the awful feeling that only comes when you’ve planted your foot firmly into your mouth.I recently read an article by Travis Bradbury, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0. It offered insight into what to say in a conversation. I thought I would share some highlights with you. 


1. “You look tired” – Tired people are incredibly unappealing — they have droopy eyes and messy hair, they have trouble concentrating, and they’re as grouchy as they come. Telling someone he looks tired implies all of the above and then some. Instead say: “Is everything okay?”

2. “Wow, you’ve lost a ton of weight!” – Once again, a well-meaning comment—in this case a compliment—creates the impression that you’re being critical. Telling someone that she has lost a lot of weight suggests that she used to look fat or unattractive. Instead say: “You look fantastic.”

3. “You were too good for her anyway” – When someone severs ties with a relationship of any type, personal or professional, this comment implies he has bad taste and made a poor choice in the first place. Instead say: “Her loss!”

4. “You always . . .” or “You never . . .” – No one always or never does anything. People don’t see themselves as one-dimensional, so you shouldn’t attempt to define them as such. These phrases make people defensive and closed off to your message, which is a really bad thing because you likely use these phrases when you have something important to discuss. Instead say: Simply point out what the other person did that’s a problem for you. Stick to the facts. If the frequency of the behavior is an issue, you can always say, “It seems like you do this often.” or “You do this often enough for me to notice.”

5. “You look great for your age”– Using “for your” as a qualifier always comes across as condescending and rude. No one wants to be smart for an athlete or in good shape relative to other people who are also knocking on death’s door. People simply want to be smart and fit. Instead say: “You look great.”

6. “As I said before . . .” –  We all forget things from time to time. This phrase makes it sound as if you’re insulted at having to repeat yourself, which is hard on the recipient (someone who is genuinely interested in hearing your perspective). Instead say: When you say it again, see what you can do to convey the message in a clearer and more interesting manner. This way they’ll remember what you said.

7. “Good luck”– This is a subtle one. It certainly isn’t the end of the world if you wish someone good luck, but you can do better because this phrase implies that they need luck to succeed. Instead say: “I know you have what it takes.”

8. “It’s up to you” or “Whatever you want” – While you may be indifferent to the question, your opinion is important to the person asking (or else he wouldn’t have asked you in the first place). Instead say: “I don’t have a strong opinion either way, but a couple things to consider are . . .”

9. “Well at least I’ve never…” – This phrase is an aggressive way to shift attention away from your mistake by pointing out an old, likely irrelevant mistake the other person made (and one you should have forgiven her for by now). Instead say: “I’m sorry.”

In everyday conversation, it’s the little things that make all the difference. Try these suggestions out, and you’ll be amazed at the positive response you get.

5 Ways to Defeat Complacency

 

The phrase,” it is what it is” becomes the motto for many people who allow complacency complacency-2to embed there lives and way of thinking. In fact, that phrase indicates complacency has overtaken their ability to transform their results.

Complacency is like a deadly virus dormant in your system. It is lurking to kill your goals, dreams, and success.  It has the power to rob you blind of new experience, positive change, and personal growth. The worst thing about complacency is the infected person is usually unaware that he or she is at risk.

Complacency occurs in all of us. It is present in our personal life and career. However, success is determined by your ability to effectively avoid or move away from complacency. 

To help you avoid or beat complacency, here are five ways to defeat or prevent complacency.

  1. Let Others Have Influence“Never mistake the power of influence.” – Jim Rohn. Leaders need to listen and be wise, vulnerable and courageous enough to allow others to have influence. I know what you are thinking, being vulnerable as a leader is a sign of weakness. That thinking is out of date. In fact, I believe vulnerability is a sign of strength, creativity, and openness. Vulnerability displaces complacency by ensuring we are allowing others to influence where and when we need it. Let’s face it, complacency embeds itself in the inability to think differently. Influence will enable us to consider options.
  2. Challenge the Status Quo“Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” – Martin Luther King Jr. Evaluate your goals often. As complacency sets in, our ability to think differently is minimized by our inability to process anything other than what we already know. Instead of seeing the opportunity to move forward, we wait to seek permission and find ourselves passed up by great opportunities. Lolly Daskell wrote, “Challenging the status quo takes an open mind, open heart and open will.” When we fail to challenge the status quo, we allow complacency to discourage our intentions and thus weaken our ability to contribute to success.
  3. Be Curious I have no special talents, I am just passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein. What we know is all we know. Without a curious mind and curious heart, we become stagnant in our thoughts and ideas. This allows complacency to become our comfort place. John Maxwell said, “When you lack curiosity, you breed indifference.”  Indifference leads to ruts and routines and creates a complacent spirit. Curiosity, on the other hand, promotes change and adventure and a desire to always improve.  Curiosity requires wisdom and courage, just like the explorers who first set off around the globe. When you are in exploration mode, you may be moving forward or side-to-side, but you never go backward. You put yourself in a position to create influence rather than falling into the traps of complacency.
  4. Kick Laziness in the RearWe often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison. Complacency results from our lack of desire to allow others to influence, challenging the status quo and the lack of curiosity. Why? Because we prefer to remain idle and do nothing. We are just lazy. We accept where we are and what we have accomplished, and there is no desire to do anything more. This creates a complacent environment where we accept our current position. We may have a desire have a desire to be better than we are, but we don’t do anything to move forward. Laziness puts our careers and relationships on hold. We become stagnant and accept our current performance as ideal. Success has no room for laziness. Become a person who desires perfection! In others words, “Just Do It.”
  5. Keep Hope Alive At All CostYou don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. Regardless of life or business situations, hope will always shine a positive light. Hope drives our desire for accomplishment. Hope is the belief that circumstances in the future will be better. It’s not a wish that things will get better, but an actual belief, even when there may be no evidence that to support it. Talent, skill, and ability gets you in the game, but the hope is the motivation that keeps you there. 

ComplacencyComplacency robs us of our success and achievements. It creates a way of thinking that blocks our ability to achieve the great things we desire. In fact, complacency sneaks up on us so fast that we don’t realize we’ve become complacent until someone points it out. 

Take a pro-active approach to preventing complacency by evaluating your current personal and business position and taking actions to defeat and even avert complacency. Consider these 5 ways to overcome complacency.

 

TIPS TO GET BETTER AT SMALL TALK

Women drinking coffeeI recently published a blog titled, “8 Personal Habits That Will Ensure A Good First Impression.” Number 8 on that list was “Initiate Relevant Small Talk”.  I discuss the need for relevant small talk and how it can create a connection and lead to building a relationship.  Effective small talk can provide clues in providing a deeper understanding of that person.

Recently I came across an article titled; “15 Tips to Get Better at Small Talk”written by Patti Johnson with SUCCESS Online.

I wanted to share it with you as I found it to be a great companion article addressing the issue of small talk.

1. Get your mind right.

If you spend the week anticipating and worrying because you know you will feel uncomfortable, you’ve set yourself up for failure. Remember why you are going—to celebrate a friend on his or her special day, to meet others who share your interest or connect with your co-workers.

2. Decide who you’d like to meet before you go.

Take a look at who else will be there and plan to meet those who might share something in common. This might be someone who knows a mutual friend, a fellow baseball fan or a business owner living your dream.

3. Make a game out of it.

Trick your mind into making it seem easier and more fun. Commit to at least an hour. Plan to meet at least five people.   Challenge yourself to learn two new things  This mind shift can help tame the anxiety and make the conversation more fun.

4. Take responsibility for meeting others.

Don’t wait for others to approach you. Say hello first. When you expect others to make the first move, you’ll be disappointed. And the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll be.

5. Don’t be the sidekick.

Rather than being the shadow of the one person you already know, branch out.

6. Have your “go-to” questions ready.

Starting a conversation with a new person can be hard. Try, “How do you know _____?” “What is keeping you busy these days?” or “What brought you to this area?” It doesn’t have to be complicated, just something to get you started if you you’re new acquaintances.

7. Be interested. Listen more than you talk.

Asking questions is the secret ingredient to interesting conversations.  Stay away from yes/no questions. You can naturally start with easy questions that feel natural, but listen for an interesting comment to explore and build upon.

As an example for how your questions might flow:

  •  How do you know Allison?
  •  I didn’t realize you were a graphic designer. What kind of design do you do?
  •  Why did you decide to get into graphic design?
  •  Oh, I went to school in Miami, too! Where are your favorite places to go when you go back?
  •  Do you think of Miami as home? How did you make the move from there to here?

Within a few questions, you can move to more substance and a real conversation.

8. Be yourself!Business people discussing

No one likes the fake networker. In the interest of being more outgoing, don’t be someone you aren’t. Putting out effort doesn’t mean being fake.

9. Compliment and shift.

Find something that you can genuinely compliment the other person on and then shift to a question so it isn’t awkward.

10. Plan a graceful exit.

Every conversation runs its course, but a natural end is hard. Just say, “It’s been great to meet you, and I hope you have the best vacation next week.” Excuse yourself to do something else and move on.

11. Look for others who want to connect.

I recently went to a large celebration event and only knew the busy host. I noticed another guest taking her time at the snack table and introduced myself. We had a great conversation while those around us caught up with longtime friends.

12. Be an introducer.

If you are talking with someone and another guest looks a little uncomfortable, invite him or her into the conversation. Remember the times when you were that uncomfortable person and try to include others.

13. Don’t be the “hammer looking for the nail.”

Your favorite topic isn’t everyone else’s. You might love your new grill or your favorite book or TV show, but don’t assume everyone else is interested. Gauge the conversation and flow with it.

14. Don’t expect too much.

Not every get-together will result in new friends. That’s OK. You still accomplished your goal of going when it was easier not to—you were there supporting a friend or a co-worker. And that is enough.

15. Get in the habit.

Don’t constrain this habit to social events. Say hello to the person next to you on the plane before you grab your headphones (I’m working on this). Talk to your waiter. Ask your Uber driver about his day. The habit of saying hello and listening is a muscle you can develop by working on it every day.

Try some small talk. You might be surprised where it takes you.