Self-congratulation sits on the throne of the political process. Apparently the social rules our parents instruct us to follow don’t apply for many aspirants of public office. When the spotlights splash the debate stage or the cameras roll in the Oval Office, hubris emerges as the dialect of choice.
In a recent Republican debate, Newt Gingrich claimed he defeated the Soviet empire. Without blushing or apologizing, The Newt consistently points out how he rescued the world from communism and from complete social collapse. You don’t have to listen long to get the clear sense that Newt is Newt’s biggest fan.
Across the political aisle, President Obama consistently reveals his lofty views of himself. During a 60 Minutes interview last month, he gave us a glimpse into his self-opinions, and it’s awfully rosy:
I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president — with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln — just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history. -Barack Obama
My issue isn’t with whether President Obama is one of the top four presidents in our country’s history or if Newt shredded the Iron Curtain. My issue is that they don’t seem to have any hesitation about making these claims. My dad always taught me that the best leaders celebrate others, not themselves.
Whenever I watch the self-complimenting love fest our political leaders have with themselves, I am reminded of how grateful I am to work with a leader who militantly fights against arrogance. Peter Greer hails from Harvard and became CEO at HOPE International in his twenties. He speaks three languages and is just as comfortable in front of a balance sheet as he is in front of an audience.
Since Peter has taken the helm at HOPE, revenue has grown at a 31% annual rate (from under $1M in 2004 to over $8M in 2011) and the global footprint expanded from a handful of countries to 16 countries across four continents. The guy deserves at least a few humble-brags. And though I know (with biblical proof) that Peter isn’t perfect, he exhibits the only leadership quality I think is indispensable: Humility.
I’m grateful to serve in an organization that is built around others-congratulating leadership. What a joy to work in a team environment where “who gets credit” is, quite simply, unimportant. Now please, Peter, don’t let this go to your head. I don’t want this post to lead you to claim you single-handedly defeated poverty or that you’re the fourth-best CEO the world has ever known.
You can follow Peter here: @peterkgreer