Pride Cometh Before….

We were very privileged to provide a whole team training day for a furniture company, which was entitled ‘Working with Pride’. This firm certainly could be proud, having designed and made beautiful bespoke furniture for Buckingham Palace and Dover Castle.

In researching the topic, I found an interesting aspect about pride. Pride appears to have mixed reviews; from one of the seven deadly sins to an essential business virtue. There are two sides to the coin.

The saying is that pride cometh before a fall. Another is that temper gets you into trouble, but pride keeps you there.

Yet other quotes highlight the vital importance of pride in business and performance management. Pride is a personal commitment. It is an attitude which separates excellence from mediocrity. “No one has a greater asset for his business than a man’s pride in his work.” Hosea Ballou.

So is pride a good thing or bad?

I believe there is an authentic pride, which is based on fact and reality. This is what motivates a person. We could certainly witness the passion and commitment to their craftsmanship in the team we trained. As a company value, it was rightfully placed.

On the other hand, there is a false pride, which is based on arrogance and misconceptions; and this can lead to complacency. No doubt we can all think of companies where this has occurred; and often to their detriment.

The definitions of pride are:

  • a feeling of self-respect and personal worth
  • satisfaction with your (or another’s) achievements; “he takes pride in his team’s success”
  • the trait of being spurred on by a dislike of falling below your standards
  • be proud of; “He prides himself on gaining the promotion”
  • unreasonable and inordinate self-esteem (personified as one of the deadly sins)

I have often heard managers say that they won’t give too much praise, as it will make the employees big headed. From my experience, chance would be a fine thing! As John Masefield put it, “Once in a century, a man may be ruined or made insufferable by praise.  But surely once in a minute something generous dies for want of it”.

Wouldn’t it be better to give more praise and enable people to be proud of what they achieve?

If we all took 10% more pride in our work, I wonder what impact that would have on this country’s economy. Let us only pass on work that we are truly proud of.

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