Leadership … when pride finds its entitlement



We all know that pride is a bad attitude in a leader, that leaders who show too much pride and arrogance are seen with distrustful eyes.

Pride is something we should not show – normally.

Good leaders know that it is better to be humble and modest than attracting attention through arrogance or pride.

Humility gives a leader the right wisdom, that he is able to act approprately and ethically.


Having understood that leaders should show humility, you may ask:


“When leaders lead with humility, with modesty, with noble restraint, how can they develop real greatness?” 
“Can a leader be humble and great at the same time?”


At first glance we all think that it is not possible.

Greatness means having power and energy, that is a completely different appearance than being humble.

And inded it is difficult to be humble and great at the same time.

It is hard to imagine that a strong person ( think of Muhammad Ali ) is humble.


What we should know …


Humility gives us only power over oneself in self-government, Humility offers the promise of excellence, but it does not guarantee power, when power is the proud domination of human beings.

Saint Thomas Aquinas stated that humility and the high virtue of magnanimity, or greatness of soul, are twins. Magnanimity guides the gaze of great individuals to the heights. And humility comes to help and prevents us from flying too high. You see, the perfect combination.

For Aristotle, the peak of the virtues was not humility, but pride. He spoke about “megalopsychia”, literally “great-souledness”, or “magnanimity”.


What is “magnanimity”?


“Magnanimity” is not about being generous, as we would think. It is about having the right estimation of one’s worth when one’s worth is great.

We would say:

When we feel we have a great worth and have much achieved, we can concede us to show ( a certain amount of ) pride

And pride here does not mean arrogance, it means having perfect clarity of wisdom and having a clear understanding of the own person.

For Aristotle, pride was not bad or evil. If maintained in proper amount, it was a worthy thing.

According to Aristotle, the magnanimous man is eager to help others. He is haughty toward those perceived as influential, but he moderates his pride in dealing with inferiors or lesser people.




When our achievements lead us to the wisdom that we have a great worth, we may show magnanimous pride.


( Source: “Humility” by David J. Bobb )


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