The Ultimate Pursuit of Leadership isn’t Success

The ultimate pursuit of leadership is humility, not success.

The more I think about humility, the less I know about it. The more I pursue humility, the more it escapes my grasp.

Everything good in leadership begins with humility.

The 7 seductions of arrogance:

#1. Others need to change before you.

#2. Your life is miserable because of others. Arrogance takes offense quickly, easily, and often.

#3. You know the things others should do. Arrogance listens to answer and solve. Arrogance loves to fix people.

Humility changes itself before working to change others. (You’ll be busy if you focus first on changing yourself.)

#4. Your service exceeds their service. Arrogance keeps score.

Arrogance needs appreciation and respect to keep serving.

#5. Faults in others encourage you to feel superior. Arrogance whispers, “I’m better than,” when others fall short.

Humility enjoys the strength of others and celebrates their success.

Arrogance finds someone who is less capable as a standard of comparison. That leader doesn’t do weekly check-ins. You’re so awesome because you frequently check-in with your team.

#6. Humility is achieved in private.

Humility is always pursued in connection with others. It’s personal, not simply private acts of service. Beware the superiority of serving people you don’t like in impersonal ways. It puffs you up.

#7. The ultimate seduction of arrogance is others need it more than you.

Arrogance justifies itself with the faults of others. The faults of others exempt arrogance from service.


Humility isn’t victimhood. Arrogance feels like a victim when it’s under-appreciated. Arrogance says, “I deserve better.” Feeling like a victim is self-protective arrogance.

Humility has backbone. Arrogance sacrifices values on the altar of status. Humility holds to values when it’s painful, dangerous, and costly.

Humility speaks truth to power because it doesn’t need approval from power.

What do arrogant leaders do?

How might you pursue and practice humility today?