You can’t rule on pride, things to be proud of. You can’t launch ‘be proud’ as a value, or as a behaviour. Pride is an outcome, a by-product of other things.
Each of us sees it in very different ways. But many leaders ask themselves the question, what would we like to be proud of? What would our people be proud of? These are good and legitimate questions.
I suggest there are 4 areas and sources of that ‘desired pride’, and although by no means mutually exclusive, there are different emphasis and priorities amongst people.
The statements may look like this:
- I am proud of my professional development, my constant skilling. I am in professional growth mode. I learn so much!
- I am proud of what I achieve, or we, as a team. Of our accomplishments around an idea, or product, or service. I do (we do) so much, and so well!
- I am proud of the culture, the way we do things, the environment, colleagues, the way we treat people. I feel so comfortable, so engaged!
- I am proud of what the company is about, its ‘space in the world’, what does for (people, society, a cause, innovation…). We make so much of a difference!
There will be more. There will be combinations. But the point of this diversity is that leaders need to know. Therefore they need to ask people, to find out.
My source of pride may be different than yours. Alignment is not about sharing the same source, but to walk along with compatible pride ( and dreams).
‘Being proud’ is not a behaviour. It is a state of mind, a mood, a feeling that can be translated into behaviours. The behaviour question is, what is that people do (including say) that, when they do, it means for us that that person is proud of being here?
As leader, if you want pride, try to answer the behavioural questions. Don’t start with a generic ‘pride value’, trying to define it in the abstract. Pay attention to the language people use. Then go backwards and see what people do.
Don’t prescribe pride. Let it emerge from what you do.