Much has been written on the notion of the trait of “arrogance” on leadership, yet insecurity is equally terrifying in any position of leadership. Yet confidence is crucial in this role is kind of that “sweet spot” of leadership. Both insecurity and arrogance can lead to decisions based not on what is best for kids, but personality. Below is a spectrum of where I see these things fitting.
Insecurity ←—————————- Confidence ——————————> Arrogance
The reason the arrows point out from confidence is that we can sway in certain ways…we will all have moments of insecurity and arrogance, but the best leaders often stay in that middle space.
Here are some of the differences I see in the personality traits as a “first draft”.
*Arrogance is sometimes insecurity in disguise.Just a few notes on this…
**The spectrum goes back and forth…People can deal with bouts of insecurity, confidence, and arrogance. There are also different aspects of our lives where we might show in different areas of this continuum.
I always hope to give solutions on how we can better move from a problem to a solution, but in this case, I think it is necessary to be able to see these things in yourself. Here are some questions you may want to ask of yourself in a leadership role?
- Who do I surround myself with and gravitate towards?
- When challenged, how do I react?
- When new ideas are shared from others, how do you show value and actively listen?
Confidence is crucial to leadership, but it can be a fine line between arrogance and insecurity. All three of these traits can becomes contagious in an organization based on what we model as well. Which would you rather have people exhibit?
Almost one year ago to the day, I wrote a post entitled, “5 Questions You Should Ask Your Leader“. Sylvia Duckworth created the image below to go along with the post:
I was reminded of the last question recently, “What will be your fingerprints on the building after you leave?” Someone shared with me the idea that they had hoped their new principal coming into the school wouldn’t change much, and just let them keep doing what they are doing. In our world today, maintaining is falling behind, and reminds me of the quote from John C. Maxwell, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”
Now I know that consistency is important in any organization, and I am not advocating a 180 degree turn in buildings when a new principal or educators walks into the building. I also don’t believe that immediate change is necessary as it is important to learn and build upon the strengths of the people already in the building, and for someone to understand the strengths of those that they serve, relationships must be built over time. But if we truly want to grow as educators, my hope is that when new people arrive in our schools, they will push us to become better, no matter their position. If you really think about it, would we be comfortable with a teacher that simply maintains the intelligence of the students they receive in any year? We would expect growth of our students, as we should expect growth from ourselves.
So to the new people starting in your schools this year, what fingerprints will you leave after you are gone? What change in trajectory will you have created not only in your students, but of your colleagues. And to those that are hoping things just “stay the same”, I am reminded of the Einstein quote, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”