Dependency as an Asset

An independent life is out of the question for anyone who aspires to lead.

Success – in leadership – always depends on others. A central issue of leadership is how you deal with dependency.

Arrogance – Humility – Dependency:


Arrogance minimizes, ignores, and rejects dependency. Arrogant leaders:

  1. Accentuate status.
  2. Stand aloof from the ‘little people’.
  3. Expect to be served.
  4. Succeed at the expense of others.
  5. Overestimate their own value and underestimate the value of others.

(I choose the word ‘arrogance’ because ‘pride’ has both a positive and negative aspect.)


Everyone who says, “Treat people like equals,” acknowledges the existence of inequalities.

Humility isn’t blind or ignorant. Self-awareness requires leaders to acknowledge admiration, courtesy, or deference.

Leaders choose to respond to status with arrogance or humility.

Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge their status is unable to choose their response to it.

Humble leaders acknowledge their status and know how to use it in service to others.


The elusiveness of humility is clouded by muddled views of independence.

Fools say they don’t need others.

We are born dependent and we will die the same way. In the middle, we strive for the illusion of independence. 

At the heart of humility is acknowledgement of dependence.

Dependency answers arrogance.  Standing aloof is not an option. The higher you rise in organizational life, the more you depend on others.

The illusion of status is the idea that you don’t need others. But everything you have or know began with others. Even status is given by others.

Practice humility:

  1. Ask for help. Help seeking is humbling.
  2. Acknowledge the expertise of others. The people around the table are smarter than you in their area of expertise.
  3. Treat others as equals by elevating their status, not flaunting or demanding yours. 

Humble leaders use their rank to elevate the status of others.

What are some of the dependencies of leadership?