By: Fr. Nicholas A. Marziani, Jr., D.Min.
More reflection and commentary from my rummaging through the Wall Street Journal.
Turns out that the cure to one of the more prevalent maladies of our age – narcissism – especially at it applies to business leaders is, gosh, just so darn common sense that we tend to miss it.
How about qualifying captains of enterprise, not only by their energy, knowledge and experience, but by their . . . . humility?
“Nah”, you say, “now there, there, you religious folk are going again from preaching to meddling. Don’t tell me that I ought to play the wallflower, that’s never going to fly in that jungle out there.”
And I’d say, you’re right. It’s not about assuming a submissive posture when conducting business, but it is about self-awareness, appreciation of others, and an honest sense of one’s failings.
Turns out that businesses actually thrive and employees are more productive when the boss is not a dictator, but a real team-builder and leader.
Actually, from teaching world history I discovered that Julius Caesar was actually that kind of leader for a while, and his troops adored him – some maybe even had a “man crush” – and marched into battle and often brutal death out of their regard for the man.
All up until the point he declared himself “dictator for life”, and literally divinized himself in his own lifetime, which he prematurely terminated by his fatal descent into, well, narcissism.
There’s a professional organization out there, Hogan Assessments, that is about to offer an interview testing instrument designed to sniff out the self-important types. Humility is actually a kind of emotional skill or intelligence that can be measured, according to a base of solid research.
They’ve even come up with – predictably – a high but simple sounding quantitative designator for it: “the H factor” (very clever, those academics!).
So next time you go looking for a leadership position in a big company (or maybe even just a non-profit as a second career), don’t be surprised if you’re tagged with an “H-score” after the interview.
In the meantime you can do a self-check by going to WSJ.com/Life to see how you’re doing. And although fundamental personality traits tend to be stable over a lifetime, Old Dogs can learn new tricks.
It’s called Grace. Yea, it’s a God-Thing. And just maybe seeking the Good Lord, however you manage to do it, could make all the difference. Go for it! You just might like it!
Prayerfully, Fr. Nick