Jealousy in Leaders

By | January 2, 2018

[January 2, 2018] As little kids, we were lucky to have a grandmother who was wise, strong, and helpful. Each Christmas season she would sit about a dozen of us grandkids down on the floor to talk to us about jealousy and how the emotion leads us only to ugly things. We were warned about resenting others who got more presents or who looked prettier than us.

As adults, however, jealousy can be a serious problem that interferes with good leadership and with social relationships. A jealous leader is one who has allowed emotion to intrude upon their thinking and causes us to question our abilities, materials goods, or leader skills.

Jealousy distorts a leader’s focus. It prevents us from seeing the good in things that occur around us (like a peer being promoted or getting a raise in salary). Jealousy pushes us to focus on what we don’t have to a point that we overlook the positive. This means that such a leader will miss opportunities, run more into obstacles, and fail to see solutions we would normally have seen.

Jealously is deceptive and destructive. Often today we think that we are smarter than folks from long ago but a quote from the Bible about jealously is very telling. In James 3:16 it is written that “For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.” Jealousy is a mental cancer that eats away at us to rob leaders of our skills and abilities to improve upon our leadership.

“The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves.” – William Penn, English philosopher, real estate entrepreneur, and early Quaker

Jealousy is about insecurity in ourselves. We waste time and energy trying to fix, change, or deny others what are due them and fail to allow for self improvement. For leaders, jealousy is a weakness and can be an obsession that is a destructive force upon our skills and ultimately upon our good character.

My grandmother had an uncanny ability to see right through me; or so I thought. It was not unusual for her to call me by name and announce to the world what I was thinking at that particular moment. It always seemed to me that she could call out any wrong-doing before it even occurred. One time she blamed me for sneaking a peek inside the Christmas presents … yes, I was guilty of jealousy.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.