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  • 1. Have you requested a promotion in the last year?
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The Sin of Arrogance: When Success Breeds Toxic Leadership

The Sin of Arrogance can turn even the most competent leaders into failures. Let's explore what causes it and some telltale symptoms.

You've worked hard and are a successful manager by all standard measures. Your team sees you as a star. But they may also think you have a huge ego.

Don't worry - success and ego often go hand in hand, especially in the workplace. As people gain power, egos tend to inflate too.

However, while success makes you stand out, an unchecked ego can become your own worst enemy. I call this the Sin of Arrogance. It causes leaders to fail spectacularly.

At first, the Sin lurks unseen. But it emerges in typical management scenarios - meetings, projects, decisions. It distorts reality and makes leaders charge ahead fully confident in their choices. They become immune to advice or warnings from the team, thinking "I know better." The result - flawed choices that flop.

Yet these leaders rarely see the Sin as the cause. Instead they attribute failures to anything else. Repeat this cycle and you get toxic leadership.

No manager is immune. Achieving status is based on success and contribution. But with status comes questioning - "How will this influence my life and work? What does it mean to be a leader? Am I above others now?"

In my experience, most leaders say "Nothing has changed, I just have more responsibilities."

But subordinates feel leaders change significantly in behavior, self-image, and relations. Though faced with this feedback, managers deny changing, justifying it as "required" or that "others are jealous."

This denial perpetuates the Sin subtly. Successful leaders, beware how easily arrogance creeps in after accomplishments. It's almost unavoidable but can be managed.

Watch for how the Sin negatively impacts your decisions in my next post. For now, stay vigilant about arrogance so you can lead effectively and relate well to your team. Success should not distort reality or compromise your morals.

And always remember:

Great managers are made. Not born.

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