Hubris Syndrome - When Leaders Fail to Serve


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engagement-team (Free Agent) Posted 6 months ago

We are students of Leadership and Management. One of the leadership concepts that we fully embrace is that of servant leadership. When a leader fails to believe in and serve their people, this is a dangerous precedent to a toxic culture and failing business. Success, at times, can be a terrible teacher. For leaders who have a long stretch of success, this can lead to what consultants call the Hubris Syndrome.

In Greek tragedy, hubris was the downfall of the Heroe. Jonathan Davidson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, defines the Hubris Syndrome as a “disorder of the possession of power, particularly power which has been associated with overwhelming success, held for a period of years.” With respect to executive leadership, it results in an inflated ego and an unchecked power. This is a dangerous precedent as you lose touch with the pulse of your organization as well as with your people. As a CEO or Founder, you should not look to yourself as a "Greek God" but as a "Servant" of the people.

Servant leadership means being in touch with the people that follow you and the customers that pay you. It means having the humility and integrity to build a great business that doesn't take advantage of people or the community it resides within. It means understanding, as a CEO or Founder, that the Greek God's fatal flaw is HUBRIS. Very similar to what you see in technology companies in Silicon Valley these days. Our advice is beware of the leader that believes in his or her own hubris...


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