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The Nine Deadly Sins of Leadership

Now, before you think I’m going to get all religious on you, let me define the word “sin.” In the original Hebrew language, sin is defined as ‘missing the mark’, much the same as an archer may miss the mark when shooting for a bull’s-eye.

In my opinion, leadership starts with deep reflection to be aware of any limiting blind spots. The following nine (9) deadly sins will help you reflect on how you may be limiting yourself both personally and professionally as a leader. In my experience everyone has at least one of these primary flaws that are dominant in their personality, so which one(s) can you identify with?

Anger: You’re extremely critical of yourself and other people, and judge others harshly believing you are ethically without reproach.

Awareness Hint: You may feel your childhood was lost and you were forced to grow up too quickly. Therefore your hidden assumption is that you will be loved only if you carry out tasks in a perfect manner.

Pride: Although you’re loving, empathic and giving, your main concern is to get other people to like and appreciate you by putting their needs and interests before yours.  (Many HR professionals are in this category).

Awareness Hint: As a child you learned to love and serve others to receive appreciation and gratitude in return. However, the flip side is you find it difficult to receive criticism as you feel superior to others, and feel they owe you because of the extraordinary love and care you freely give.

Deceit: When carrying out a plan or strategy, you may become manipulative, deceitful and narcissistic in order to reach your goal.

Awareness Hint: Although you’re generally optimistic, pragmatic and success-oriented, you devote yourself to be competitive, efficient, and identify with results, because as a child you needed your achievement to be recognized by others to feel loved.

Envy: You’re an individualist, creative, refined and very sensitive; however, you have a sense of feeling deprived and long for what you feel is lacking. Therefore, you often aim for unachievable goals.

Awareness Hint: As a child you needed recognition by others for your originality, so you played the moody, shy, vulnerable artistic role to get what you wanted.

Greed: You’re intuitive, curious and self-controlled; however, you feel incapable to give of yourself to others.

Awareness Hint: As a child you have always been attracted to knowledge and tend to often isolate yourself. At times you may seem cold and aloof, but actually were hypersensitive. You fear others will be obtrusive. You fear you won’t have enough of yourself to give, so you hold back from others.

Fear: Although you are cordial, trustworthy and security-oriented, you experience social phobia and a lack of confidence in other people, so you become unobtrusive and estrange others.

Awareness Hint: As a child you learned to fear other people’s unreliability.  You learned to become cautious and anxious.

Gluttony: You can be narcissistic, superficial, impulsive and undisciplined. You tend to avoid pain, and aren’t able to empathise with people’s problems. At your best you’re charming, imaginative and a good entertainer, and operate within creative and stimulating environments. (Many entrepreneurs are in this category).

Your deadly sin of gluttony is you are “hungry” for new sensations, pleasure and social prestige to satisfy your appetite to taste life in its fullness.

Awareness Hint: As a child you were cheerful, playful, and an eternal Peter Pan. However, you feared being bored, so you always looked for fun new experiences and thrills to feel loved.

Lust: (from “Lúxus”, meaning “to be eager for things”) You tend to be aggressive, despotic and egocentric in relentless search of conflict to demonstrate strength and defend your territory. However, at best you’re protective and generous, and devote yourself to serve others. (Many CEOs and powerful leaders are in this category).

Awareness Hint: As a child you needed to demonstrate to be always the strongest, and to always be right even at the cost of smashing others.

Sloth: You don’t like to commit, tend to stay at the margin not expressing your opinions, and fitting in with others to keep the peace. At best you’re kind, tolerant, tactful, a peacemaker, and devote yourself to avoid any kind of conflict. You are a great mediator.

Awareness Hint: As a child you experienced an underlying rarely expressed anger. But when you did express it, you tended to explode. You didn’t like to take sides and were passive and complacent. As an adult, try expressing yourself more and notice when you’re simmering inside.

 
About: “Grant Wattie, is a transformational coach and leadership consultant. Many of the articles published are excerpts from my soon-to-be-launched book “Free As A Bird” that teaches people to free themselves from constraints to reach extraordinary heights of performance and satisfaction in their personal and professional lives. To be contacted when his book is released, you can add an email address added to his notification list by clicking here.”

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