Do you consider yourself a proud person? Well, after this article, you may want to re-consider whether it's serving you or working against you. As it turns out, a rare and unprecedented research says pride has two faces: authentic pride and hubristic pride. 

It was found that each type of pride has very different personalities, one good and one bad. This is where it gets interesting.

People exhibiting authentic pride are more likely to score high on extraversion, agreeableness, genuine self-esteem, self-confidence, and conscientiousness--all adaptive, appealing traits for the workplace.

People demonstrating  hubristic pride were found to be narcissistic, reflecting feelings of arrogance, grandiosity and superiority. They also experienced more inter-personal conflicts and, ironically enough, were also prone to shame. 

Take a wild guess which group experienced more joy, satisfaction, success, and engaged life to the fullest?

As you may have guessed by now, it's not the people with hubristic pride. In fact, these people, especially in leadership roles, hurt businesses and damage team morale. In my own observations as a coach and consultant, I have seen these behaviors in leaders exhibiting hubristic pride:

  • They constantly show off their accomplishments, or take the credit for other people's work, thereby distancing themselves from others.
  • They exaggerate, because the simple truth doesn't get enough of a reaction.
  • They serve in a leadership role to be noticed.
  • They feel entitled to star treatment because of their position or title. Even more so when performing sacrificial work.
  • They maneuver for a preferred position up the org. chart. This can also apply to extended family, church life or community.

The Pride Test

The first gigantic step in doing something about hubristic pride is to acknowledge that it is a problem. Perhaps you already know it and are in denial. Perhaps it is a huge blind spot that requires self-examination and an a-ha! moment.

Whatever the case, I am going to offer you an opportunity to bravely check in on your own hubristic pride with this profound exercise called the "Pride Test."

It comes from the book "Character Makeover" by bestselling author and life coach Katie Brazelton. She designed what I believe is a really good (and quite rigorous) measure for hubristic pride that may be working against your ability to have a more positive and fulfilling life.

If you want to proceed further with intestinal fortitude and all the humility you can muster for the next few minutes, here are your instructions:

Circle the number corresponding to how frequently you think you have exhibited each type of prideful attitude within the last several weeks.

1 = never
2 = rarely
3 = sometimes
4 = frequently


Exalting Myself ("It's all about me")

1 2 3 4   Asserting my rights: I am concerned about getting what I deserve.

1 2 3 4   Bragging: I boast about successes without crediting others.

1 2 3 4   Entitlement: I deserve special treatment because of my condition or position.

1 2 3 4   Exaggerating: I embellish the truth to get attention.

1 2 3 4   Name dropping: Knowing important people makes me feel important.

1 2 3 4   Self-centeredness: I am blind to the needs of others. "It's all about me."

1 2 3 4   Showing off: I call attention to my possessions, abilities, or sacrifices.

1 2 3 4   Vain: I am obsessed with the areas where I am better than others.

Belittling Myself ("Poor Little Ol' Me")

1 2 3 4   False humility: I point out my shortcomings, looking for reassurance.

1 2 3 4   Overly independent: I can't receive help or gifts. That would be awkward or shameful!

1 2 3 4   Overworking: I work to exhaustion; it makes me feel worthy.

1 2 3 4   Overserving: I serve beyond the call of duty, looking for affirmation.

1 2 3 4   Perfectionism: I try to be perfect; it makes me feel acceptable.

1 2 3 4   Woe is me: I often have a catastrophe to lament, looking for pity.

1 2 3 4   Works: I have to do more to deserve others' approval.

1 2 3 4   Worthlessness: I rely on the reassurance of others to bolster my self-esteem.

Attacking Others ("I'm right, you're wrong.")

1 2 3 4   Argumentative: I choose to find what I disagree with and engage in a quarrel.

1 2 3 4   Controlling: I manage the actions of others to make sure they do things my way.

1 2 3 4   Critical spirit: I look for ways others don't meet my standards and point them out.

1 2 3 4   Intolerance: I won't accommodate opinions different than my own.

1 2 3 4   Irritability: I get annoyed easily and lash out at those who bother me.

1 2 3 4   Judgmentalism: I assume the worst or exhibit a condemnatory attitude.

1 2 3 4   Put-downs: I intentionally belittle others with cutting or snubbing remarks.

1 2 3 4   Self-righteousness: I justify poor treatment of others by my holiness.

Ignoring Others ("I have it all together, I don't need help.")

1 2 3 4   Pouting: If I don't get my way, I clam up.

1 2 3 4   Ignoring correction: I'm never wrong (plus I'm hard of hearing!).

1 2 3 4   Isolated: I reject help from others, preferring to go it alone.

1 2 3 4   Refusal to change: This is just who I am, so accept me.

1 2 3 4   Rigidity: I can't be flexible or adjust my plans.

1 2 3 4   Stubborn: I am obstinate.

1 2 3 4   Unsubmissive: I won't receive leadership. "You're not the boss of me."

1 2 3 4   Unteachability: I am closed to input or guidance. I have my act together.

Section Score:

Exalting Myself Total: ___________

Belittling Myself Total: ___________

Attacking Others Total: ___________

Ignoring Others Total: ___________

TOTAL SCORE: ____________

Scoring Scale:

1-33       You are a model of humility -- a strong leadership trait.
34- 64    You are learning to be more humble and moving toward authentic pride.
65- 96    Thank you for your honesty. That's the first step to humility!
97 -128  Hmm, you have some work to do. Time to get some help.


Bringing it home

I know that wasn't an easy test for many of you, so affirm yourself that you're human and not broken.

But if you're serious about positive change, use the results of this test to work with a mentor or coach and devise an action plan to better your situation. Look at where you scored the highest and start there.

For example, do you find yourself attacking others often? You can declare that you'll stop trying to be the ruler of the world and just "surrender" control and the need to be right.

Do you ignore others? Start looking at people as amazing resources for your own development. Stop resisting their input and learn from their unique points-of-view.

For additional help and support, leave me a comment or subscribe below and lets chat.

Published on: Jul 22, 2016
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