Executive Presence: Humility
The Phenomenon of Centricity
In searching for ways to appropriately guide you to becoming a humble leader, we shared the topic with several of our Executive Coaching Certification programs at the University of Georgia. From those discussions, we have developed a concept called the Phenomenon of Centricity. Centricity involves seeing one’s self as the center of all things.
Centricity plays a part in all of our daily lives. Both our point of view and our basic wiring make centricity unavoidable. Be aware of it, and you will begin to recognize it in yourself as well as others.
Both pride and arrogance come from natural, untamed centricity. When they are combined, we show little or no concern for others. When we do not consciously acknowledge others, even in a subtle manner, we get the sense that everything revolves around our persona. When we only think about how a situation affects us, we are being overpowered by the Phenomenon of Centricity.
Imagine this scenario: A university classroom is interrupted by the shrill sound of a fire alarm. Students and teachers maneuver through the halls and then down the stairs with ease. They gather across the street, wondering if the alarm signaled a fire. Ten minutes later, they are given the ‘all clear’ to re-enter the building. As the students approach the steps, there is someone sitting in the middle of the stairway, unpacking his lunch. He was completely oblivious to the fact that hundreds of students were approaching the steps, and he was blocking their progress. The young man did not move left or right, nor did he gather his lunch and find another location. This was where he had chosen to eat his lunch, and nothing was going to stop this process.
Think about something you do on a daily basis. Does it affect others in a way that could be interpreted as care for no one but yourself?
Case Study – Example
Stan drops in to a local coffee shop each morning on his way to work. There is always a line for service, and then… there is Sheila.
She is usually in line slightly in front of Stan. She always has a conversation underway on her cell phone. Sheila is loud and always does most of the talking. When Sheila approaches the counter she keeps talking on the phone as she places her order. Shelia even says to the person on the phone, “I have no idea what I want”. She carries on, holding up the line for several minutes, just to order one drink.
Sheila’s arrogance affects everyone around her. She is oblivious to this. Getting what she wants and doing what she needs to; that’s all that matters to her. She misses the barista asking her pertinent questions to understand better what she wants. The person on the phone is not able to get a word in. Poor Stan and other patrons must decide what to do: leave, wait or say something to Sheila.
She clearly lacks humility. She is not aware of anyone’s needs but her own. Of course, this is not the only place she acts this way. This phenomena of centricity follows Sheila as she enters the office. Imagine what her employees may be going through if she is oblivious to what they are thinking.
You will learn more about the phenomenon of centricity throughout our Executive Presence blog post series beginning this month and carrying us through the end of 202o. Each month we will share with you a tool from our ten Executive Presence booklets. Stay tuned!