A throwback to my primary school days (oh, that’s aeons ago) when teachers often quoted this proverb to us, a class of maleable students. At that tender age then, with few (if any) credentials between us, any fall could only result in healable bruises. But when you are a grownup and becomes a leader, the fall could make you look foolish or even spell disaster.
Taking pride in our work is a useful advice – in terms of self-respect or self-esteem. That pride, in a balanced dosage, is a reflection of the pleasure or satisfaction for a job done well. A simple pat on the shoulder is fine.
As a grownup and especially in the role of a leader, that pride – when it is excessive, becomes arrogance. In that state, a leader becomes over-confident and conceited. Feeling self-important, he seeks neither advice nor counsel.
The Harvard Business Review as well as many other prestigious business schools have identified this trait to be amongst the most serious weaknesses in failed top executives.
Aesop’s fable about the hare and the tortoise taught us that pride comes before the fall. Another lesson comes from the sinking of the state-of-the-art Titanic during its maiden voyage. One of the main reason for the disaster was the overconfidence of her captain and crew. They underestimated the destructive power of an iceberg. Overconfidence sank the ship and caused the loss of hundreds of lives.
I have chosen the proud peacock to illustrate this proverb “Pride Comes Before A Fall”.