The Employers' Association

The Employers’ Association (TEA) is a not-for-profit employers’ association, formed in 1939, with offices in Grand Rapids serving the West Michigan employer community. We help more than 600 member companies maximize employee productivity and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, survey data, and consulting services.

TEA is in the business of helping people. This blog is intended to address human issues, concerns and the things that impact people - be they self-perpetuated or externally imposed. Feel free to respond to the thoughts presented here, for without each other, we are nothing!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Pride becomes a driver for many as they seek to bring to fruition their internal perceptions while de-valuing the thoughts of others. Selfless actions can become the impetus for monumental change if performed unconditionally without anticipation or expectation of personal reward. As you interact with others, learn from those that act selflessly in their pursuit of success, not those that pursue success through their self-serving acts. Make sure the friends you keep will work unselfishly in keeping the friendship you share – you can give unconditionally when you know that another will protect your interests as deliberately as you protect theirs.

One can be morally and ethically strong when they act with selfless sincerity. When driven by the whims of pride it is much easier to portray moral and ethical weakness to those around you. We tend to become more like those we associate with than those we wish to be – reflecting the values of those around us while keeping the attitudes we might wish to portray hidden deeply within the shadows. These considerations apply not only to the way we lead and live but also to the decisions we make regarding the individuals elected to represent our interests. Consider what drives your thoughts to action as your intentional actions bring to fruition the thoughts and dreams you have established for yourself.

Pride can destroy relationships. When one “loves (or finds great comfort in) him- or herself,” there is often very little room left for anyone else. The feeling of self-advancement caused by caring for “number one” can cloud what might otherwise be an obvious choice – blurring an otherwise clear organizational direction. When pride elevates one above needing others, failure becomes not a matter of “if” but rather of “when.”

Strong, unselfish leaders learn how to resolve what they can, recognize what is beyond their personal capabilities, and seek help (with humility) in order to initiate change when it is beyond their personal control. When a leader focuses more on results than worrying about who receives the credit, great things can happen.

When we seek true leadership, consider the following:

Prideful leaders:

• Devalue the work and efforts of others

• Claim individual ownership of the team’s results

• Consistently puts his or her own welfare ahead of their team’s

• Have difficulty hearing others when they make suggestions or try to initiate change

• Think they “know everything,” failing to see the need to “learn anything new”

• Will begin to spiral towards obsolescence once they feel they have “arrived,” unless they continue to seek life’s lessons from the people, places and things around them

• Use deferral is an ally – if unable to shift fault to others they often remain silent (as if nothing had happened)

• Find it hard to say, “Thank you” or “I’m sorry” (as they are not truly grateful nor are they often reticent)

• Do not feel compelled to move onward, upward, or forward. They are often so content with “what is” they could care less about “what could be.”

• Often feel and act as though “above” the rules (which obviously control or apply to someone else).

Unselfish leaders:

• Act with consistency and reasonableness – treating everyone equitably based upon their contributions to the whole (as opposed to equally where everyone is the considered to be the same)

• Speak with sincerity when giving directions, suggestions or comments – taking the time to explain not only the “what” but also the “why” of each request

• Explain both the rewards of accomplishment and the results of failure – then help those working for them discover the road to success

• Allow themselves to be lifted “up the ladder” upon the outstretched hands of those around them rather than “climbing over them as if they were the rungs of a ladder on the way to the top”

• Watch and listen attentively to others, acting appropriately upon what is seen and heard

• Give credit when it is due and provide guidance when change is required. Accept blame for the mistakes for which they are ultimately responsible while helping others learn from (rather than being destroyed for) their failures.

If you claim credit individually while shifting the blame or deflecting criticism towards others, you may find yourself alone at the top – but will be standing precariously upon the unwilling backs of those you stepped over while rising. If you speak softly as you act loudly – praise generously while accepting accolades reluctantly – you will find yourself pulling others with you as you rise to the top.