LEADER’S FIELD GUIDE
The damage was mostly done when we arrived. The parking lot was full, yet one car stood out for three reasons: it was a beautiful candy apple red sports car, parked diagonally using four parking spaces, and being attacked by a very competitive peacock. Thick trees surrounding the parking lot prevented the proud owner from discovering the nearly $4000 of damage sooner. …And though we shooed the peacock away, his determination to defeat his reflection (and apparent rival) endured for hours! Upon our return, hundreds of dents lined the shining red doors.
Peacocks have as many as two hundred feathers, each jeweled with an iridescent eye. Their tail feathers, called a train, can be up five feet in diameter and weigh up to 13 pounds. Unlike ostriches and penguins, peacocks can actually fly. –And, no, the irony was not lost on me: the pricy car, claiming four times the required parking to prevent door dings, became the target of a bird known for flaunting its splendor.
“An example I often use to illustrate the reality of vanity, is this: look at the peacock; it’s beautiful if you look at it from the front. But if you look at it from behind, you discover the truth… Whoever gives in to such self-absorbed vanity has huge misery hiding inside them.” – Pope Francis
Here are three miseries hidden by the self-absorbed leader:
- Self-Sabotage: Self-defeating behaviors tend to mask underlying fears, like being wrong (incorrect or imperfect), undeserving (of success or kindness), and starting or finishing (leading to procrastination). Self-focused leaders become their own worst enemy. By displaying self-sabotaging behaviors, the leader becomes his or her own nemesis.
- Arrogance: Self-promoting behaviors tend to reveal underlying cravings, like wanting attention, approval, and praise. It is hard to miss the colleague strutting around the office with tail feathers on display! Yet, the audience knows the difference between self-admiration and self-confidence. By displaying arrogance, the leader becomes his or her own nemesis.
- Insecurity: Defensive behaviors reveal underlying skepticism, like assuming opposition at every turn or being passive-aggressive. The leader fights the unseen by misreading disagreement as conflict and dissention as offense. The confident, trusting leader considers all opinions and ideas –ultimately improving team cohesion and performance. By displaying insecurity, the leader becomes his or her own nemesis.
Peacocks are known to chase cars up to ten miles per hour once they’ve engaged in battle with their own reflections. Imagine the dismay felt by the driver of the dimpled car as he drove out of the parking lot. Self-sabotage, arrogance, and insecurity challenge a leader’s resolve to stay focused on others, operate with confidence, and fight the right battles. Successful leaders are not themselves the opponent and should be worthy of respect from all points of view.
— Join a Synergy Group where we will discuss what the
Bible says about Peacocking. —
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She founded Synergy Groups, virtual masterminds connecting all Christians, everywhere, for the purpose of Community, Accountability, Transformation, and Leadership. She also partners with high-performers and heirs-apparent especially in the STEM industries. Michelle’s formal background in technology, franchise, and project management gives her an edge on implementing best practices and scaling towards sustainable success. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 23 years.