Wednesday, December 28, 2016

When Career Pride Becomes Destructive

We're often told we need to show pride in our career, that we need to tout our accomplishments on social media or mention them during networking events.

But can that pride backfire?

Jessica Tracy, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and author of "Take Pride: Why the Deadly Sin Holds the Secret to Human Success," says there is a "darker side to pride."

She says her research shows there are two kinds of pride: hubristic and authentic.

It's hubristic pride that causes problems because it's really more about a person's own arrogance and ego than just feeling good about working hard and achieving something.

"It’s more, 'I am the greatest. I’m better than others. I deserve more than others,'" she explains.

Many of us have come across someone like this in our careers -- we may even recognize it in ourselves. 

But as Tracy and other experts point out, hubristic pride often signals a lack of self confidence. and the person falls into the trap of finding it easier to just brag about what they do instead of actually accomplishing something.

"Then all of the sudden, instead of feeling the authentic pride and actually becoming the kind of person you want to become, what you’re feeling is this sort of inflated pride that’s based on other people’s’ recognition of you," Tracy says.

Leon F. Seltzer, a California psychologist, says that healthy pride is:

  • Finding satisfaction in the success that comes from working hard.
  • Often quiet, with a self-assured air that comes from knowing deep inside that the accomplishment was earned. There is no "personal superiority" that comes from putting other people down.
  • A genuine recognition of accomplishments, and not distorted claims of greatness.
  • Trying to help others succeed, to support of their efforts to reach their goals.
It can be difficult sometimes to know when it's time to brag about your work and when it's time to step back and let your accomplishments speak for themselves. While you want to promote your abilities in order to advance your career, think about whether you're building others up along the way -- or you spend more time focusing on me,me,me.

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