Proud Crow Warrior

Proud Crow Warrior

Pride has a mixed press in our culture, our relationship with it having been complicated by its heading the list of the Seven Deadly Sins. This perspective was imported from the Ancient Greek concept of hubris, in which the crime of a mortal seeking to become godlike and suffering the inevitable retribution of Nemesis formed the plot outline of many Greek tragedies. The continued bad press for pride has sometimes been seen as a tool of oppression in an inequitable system, as the encouragement of humility in those who are disempowered can be used as a way of encouraging acceptance of inequity and passivity.

However, since the seventeenth century there has been a gradual shift in perspectives on pride, so that it can now be seen as healthy, rather than excessive, sense of self-worth. It can be argued that the hubristic inflation of self-worth is not really pride, and is often a compensatory mechanism for a lack of genuine pride. It is now more commonly the case that individuals lack a sufficient basis of self-esteem, although hubris can be a significant issue for a leader, and we all know people who have ‘believed their own publicity’ and experienced the sense of schaudenfrade when they ‘got what they deserved’.

In its pure form, pride is rather more a mode of being than a feeling per se. Pride is expressed in presence, bearing, and how you relate to yourself, to others and to the circumstances of your life, especially in how in how you respond to success and failure. Such a healthy self-regard is often reflected in a healthy regard from others. Pride can also be looked at in terms of what it is not, as it is characterised by a freedom from shame and guilt and from the need for self-justification. In this respect it is an essential component of a maturation process, and an essential ingredient in the psyche of a leader. The relation to shame and guilt here reflects the fact that pride has a social aspect that can enhance the individual dimension, so that the vague sense of pride is amplified to a fully-fledged feeling. It is in this respect that pride has been adopted by the LGBT community.

As a feeling experience that makes an impact on us, pride is most likely to be experienced in relation to a specific achievement. Pride is usually associated with accomplishment not moral worth, so that it has been said that one can feel pride about doing well, but not about doing good. Perhaps it can be argued that one’s underlying sense of pride comes from a sense of moral worth and general capability, and that full-blown feelings of pride arise from specific achievements. Many people’s strongest experience of pride is in relation to the achievements of their children. As a leader, while you may experience pride in relation to a job well done or a strategy achieved, it may well be in regard to your metaphorical children – be they projects of protégés – that you experience most pride, albeit vicariously.