In all the books I’ve read about leadership, perhaps the single most important word contained in those volumes is example. As the leader of an executive team, the one thing you want all your leaders to be is examples of emotional maturity. Again, let me repeat that there is nothing wrong with manifesting a bold, courageous personality. Leaders need those qualities if we are going to realize our bold, courageous goals! But we must balance that powerful persona with emotional intelligence—that is, a mature level of self-awareness that allows us to “dial it back” and not overrun people.
The mature leader is humble. Humility is attractive; humility gains followers and encourages loyalty. The immature leader is overcome by hubris, which is defined as excessive arrogance. Hubris is unattractive; it repels (because it exalts self and devalues others) and produces resentment, resistance, and revenge. Therefore, if there is a person on the leadership team who is characterized by excessive arrogance, they can easily deliver the death blow to the levels of trust and respect that they have established with other members of that team.
When people are growing in humility, the leadership team exhibits a high degree of openness, vulnerability, and transparency, which invariably guards against any mistrust and disrespect. As the team grows in their trust and respect for one another, they will frankly admit the areas, both personal and professional, where they need to develop and grow. The members will become living examples of emotional intelligence.
All the members of your leadership team must support one another and hold each other accountable with regard to each other’s emotional growth. They should exhort each other, “Let’s work together to get better at these things!” Individually we must consciously, intentionally work to move away from hubris and toward humility. So we’re growing in emotional intelligence individually and as a team so that we develop deeper trust and respect for one another. For without high trust and high respect, there is no relationship and no potential for an organization to create sustainable profitability. There’s never a point where we have “arrived.” This is a philosophy we never grow out of; we only grow deeper in it. Hence, we must maintain a constant vigilance over our hubristic Kryptonite.