Quintessential leaders never have to – nor in fact, would – promote their efforts, a piece of a larger picture and larger plan. They are interested in outcomes and their contributions, as leaders, are devoted to successful outcomes for their teams, business units, organizations, and society at large. That is where their focus, their attention, and their efforts are directed.

So, when you hear people continually promote themselves as leaders, constantly touting their sole accomplishments, pointing everything back to themselves, you are seeing someone who is not only not a quintessential leader, but who is not even in a leadership position, except in his or her own mind. Everything the person is about is self-aggrandizement

Although self-aggrandizers are abundant throughout society, they seem to be even most prolific in business, sports, donald trump self-aggrandizementand religion. Donald Trump in business comes to mind. Muhammad Ali in his heyday in boxing comes to mind. The world of religious organizations is so full of these types of muhammad ali cassius clay self-aggrandizementpeople that it is difficult to pinpoint a single example. And the so-called religious types are the easiest to recognize and unmask because they all claim to be some sort of “only” representative of God and yet none of them agrees with each other or God.

Self-aggrandizers have an exaggerated and unsubstantiated view of their accomplishments and their contributions. They are legends in their own minds. They are completely self-absorbed and everything they say and do is from a “the world revolves around me” perspective. The prominent words their vocabularies are Imy, and me.

Self-aggrandizers believe they are superior to the rest of the human race. They also believe that they are unfairly treated and under-recognized by everyone else, primarily because, in their delusional , self-important opinions, everyone else is too ignorant and too blind to see how great and awesome they really are.

So, instead of spending time actually accomplishing the results that quintessential leaders are known for, the self-aggrandizers spend all their time promoting themselves. We’ve all worked with people who are self-aggrandizers and they are a detriment and an obstacle to productivity and success because they are consumed with nothing but being seen and heard and constant attention-seeking. These people suck up all the energy of whatever environment they are in and frequently stall or stop any progress if they’re allowed to continue unchecked.

The roots of self-aggrandizement are strong delusion, an overinflated ego (pride, vanity, arrogance), and insecurity. When a person has to spend all his or her time telling everyone how special, great, wonderful, awesome, superior he or she is – when in reality, if a person really is any or some or all of those things, it is readily apparent to everyone as a pattern of behavior and as just who that person is all the time and usually the person doesn’t even see those qualities in themselves, but it is other people who point them out – that person is first trying to convince him or herself those things are true – insecurity – and second trying to convince everyone else they are true as well.

The strong delusion is a contextual issue. Everything said to or about the self-aggrandizer gets assimilated through the “I, my, me” filter that dominates his or her thinking, and comes out, at best, twisted completely out of or spun completely away from its original context, or, at worst, completely invented (a lie). Regardless of which way the self-aggrandizer comes to his or her conclusions, he or she is always right and everyone else is always wrong.

An overinflated ego will argue, fight, contest, and keep conflict going. The ironic thing is that most people will tire of the endless arguing, fighting, contesting, and conflict after a while because they realize, at some point, that there’s no reasoning with a self-aggrandizer and the continuation of the discussion is a waste of time, but because the self-aggrandizng person gets the last word, so to speak, this boosts his or her ego even more and further convinces him or her that he or she is right. It’s a vicious circle, not based on evidence or fact, but simply based on the self-aggrandizer’s ability to out talk and outlast everyone else.

Insecurity is the knock of reality on a self-aggrandizer’s door. But since self-aggrandizers live in a world of strong delusions and super-sized egos, they will never allow this reality to get any further than the door. They lock insecurity out with even more self-aggrandizement.

So, if you see or hear someone who is always making presumptuous and momentous claims about him or herself, their positions, their accomplishments and who and what they are, you should recognize that that person is a self-aggrandizer. He or she is not any kind of leader and not a quintessential leader.

We as quintessential leaders need to recognize self-aggrandizement and remove it from among our teams and remove ourselves as far from it as possible. It is one of the most toxic and destructive forces that we will face in life. Giving it any attention will only encourage it and make it worse. We don’t need that. Our teams, our business units, our organizations don’t need that.

Comments
  1. […] Self-aggrandizement is a third form of self-promotion.  When we have to constantly tell people how great we are (or, in the more deceptive forms, how humble we are, how long-suffering we are, how justified – this is a defensive position – we are in what we say and do, and how much we forebear with others or endure in our lives), we are practicing self-promotion. […]

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