By Thomas Cutting
One of the ugliest things to hear about yourself is, “he thinks more highly of himself than he ought to.” I heard someone once ask, “Aren’t you as impressed with him as he is with himself?” Brutal. I once worked with a guy that really thought he was something. When he finally left he let everyone know how lucky the new company was going to be to get him. We felt luckier ourselves.
I’ve been fortunate with my career and have done some interesting things, but people I know are constantly surprising me with what they have done. This happened twice yesterday. At breakfast one of my buddies told me about the success he has had with his writing. One of his recent submissions topped the charts at over 1000 hits. For the past four years I’ve known him as the “go to” man with tax questions who leads the discussion in our Bible class.
Then at lunch I was bowled over by another friend of mine. He usually speaks softly and carries a hammer. He volunteers his general contractor expertise working at our church to build the big backdrops for the stage. I found out that thirty-plus years ago he was a rock star with a seven year Capitol Records contract.
Whenever my pride starts to get the best of me, I need to remember these four concepts.
Pride goes before destruction. This is often true in sports. The team that is supposed to dominate ends up limping off the field in defeat. At work it happens when you think you have everything under control because of your great team building abilities, interpersonal skills and general greatness. It blinds you to how your attitude is impacting the team until they start leaving to get away from your ego. No team? No success.
Respect is earned. If you have to tell people how great you are, you probably aren’t. One of the hard parts of starting in a new place is building back your reputation. Until people see for themselves that you know your stuff, they aren’t going to listen.
Past glory doesn’t guaranty current success. Every situation is different. Every team is unique. Every environment has its own challenges. Because I have managed a multi million dollar project for one client doesn’t mean the $100,000 one is going to be flawless. You need to make it happen, not stand around telling people how great you were.
Picture a real hero. November 11, 1918 brought an end to World War I. People around the word and throughout history have fought and died to keep others safe and free. They continue to do so today. Locally, police and fire fighters put their lives in danger to protect us and our property. Place your accomplishments into that perspective. I spent over a year creating inventory applications for a greeting card company.
When you humbly consider others greater than yourself, you have a chance to truly lead your team successfully.
Thomas Cutting, PMP is the owner of Cutting’s Edge (http://www.cuttingsedge.com/) and is a speaker, writer, trainer and mentor. He offers nearly random Project Management insights from a very diverse background that covers entertainment, retail, insurance, banking, healthcare and automotive verticals. He delivers real world, practical lessons learned with a twist of humor. Thomas has spoken at PMI and PSQT Conferences and is a regular contributor to several Project Management sites. He has a blog at (http://cuttingsedgepm.blogspot.com).
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