Hubris: You are Your Press

Hubris: You are Your Press

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess

We glorify top managers, print their pictures in newspapers and magazines, praise their decisiveness and vision, give them awards and treat them like superstars. All they’re guilty of – the poor bastards – is believing the BS we write about them.” –Freek Vermeulen, Associate Professor of Strategy  and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School and author of “Business Exposed: The naked truth about what really goes on in the world of business”

5338930111_1257463e65_mGood press starts at a tender age, even before walking or talking, and continues, getting louder all the time.

Eventually, for some, it drowns out any bad press or critical comments, so they hear only the positive glowing phrases used to describe them—and they believe.

As the good press gets louder and belief becomes stronger anything resembling balance is jettisoned and what emerges is a tyrannical ego seated on a throne of hubris.

You often find that throne at the desk of a positional leader and the ego occupying it wreaking havoc in the name of leadership—and the higher the position the more extensive the havoc.

We are all living the cost of the hubris that occupies so many corner offices in the world’s financial community, not to mention the halls of politics, but hubris has been wreaking havoc for centuries.

Long before hubris destroyed our economy and forever changed our world, its results were obvious in the failed acquisitions so prevalent over the last few decades.

Yesterday, I quoted Gordon Segal, founder of Crate and Barrel, whose comment is perfectly applicable to any age or position, “No matter how successful you are, stay humble, stay nervous, and don’t believe your own press.”

Our world would be better if more leaders, from parents to teens to CEOs to politicians, stopped believing their own press.

Flickr image credit: Mike Cattell

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