Understanding Pride vs. Confidence as a Leader


Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. -Proverbs 10:9

I am the worst when it comes to comparing myself. Being a millennial, I’m trying to succeed with the least amount of work possible. Currently, our world is filled with idolized celebrities and public figures that seem to become popular out of nowhere. Some of them gained a celebrities’ status solely based on their physical appearance and “selfie game.”

Commonly, I noticed all of them have this sense of pride about their work, brand, business etc. It seems they use their pride to gain popularity and ultimately become successful.

I too have associated success with pride.

Some may say, “But no, no...they’re just confident in themselves.” But the line between confidence and pride is often blurred.

Pride: a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct etc.

Synonyms: self-righteousness, self-fulfillment, satisfaction in oneself.

Pride is “all about me.”

Sometimes, as leaders, pride can get in the way and hinder the way we lead. Pride in leaders ultimately comes from insecurity, personal anxiety and self-doubt because of a leadership that is seemingly disconnected. Prideful leaders are unsure about themselves and what they can offer to others.

Along with these doubtful feelings is a desire to make oneself and one’s voice heard in an attempt to compensate for insecurity. As a result, pride is verbal and is heard through their mouths. Meanwhile, inside of them, insecurity is silent, hiding inside the heart.

Insecurity can manifest in all sorts of ways, but there is an alternative in leadership —humble confidence.

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. -Matthew 23:12

We are called to lead with humble confidence.

Humility comes from the Latin root, “humilius”, which translates to “earth, ground, dirt.”

We are dust.

For He knows how we are formed; he remembers that we are dust. -Psalms 103:14

Having humility is knowing where your identity, talents, skills and opportunities come from.

A confident leader finds her identity in Christ.

We are children of God.

We are deeply loved.

We are His mission.

We are given confidence to pursue Him and His works through grace.

We are dust and we are loved.

Confidence: the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something

Synonyms: trust, faith

The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.  -Robert Greenleaf

We are created in His image and gifts, strengths or opportunities are given to us because of grace in our lives. We have been called to make His name know, not our own; for Him to be seen, not us. This applies to every area of our lives, but it is especially important in leadership.

Born in humility, confidence is about using the gifts and abilities you have been blessed with to their fullest, and not just having these gifts to benefit yourself. It is a type of servant leadership that leads by example and considers others higher than herself. It's the way Jesus lead His disciples when He was on earth, and now we're called to do the same.

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. -Proverbs 16:17-18