“Feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated”
i.e. If you are ‘proud’, it is essentially about yourself, even if it is about the actions of others that is making you feel proud.
What compelled me to look up this definition?
…because I find myself with feelings of (almost sub-conscious) irritation when I hear or read about leaders feeling ‘proud’ about what ‘their people’ have achieved (essentially for them) and I wanted to understand why I should feel this way…it was bugging me.
It seems obvious now that I have studied the dictionary definition. For someone who isn’t, say, your parent to say “I am proud of you” is condescending. It suggests superiority.
It happens to be a phrase used often by command-and-control leadership towards their people.
I’m not really getting at the leaders who write or say it – they are trying to do their best to use ‘happy talk’ because they think this is good for us. I am trying to point out to them the lack of humility and respect shown by using the word in their congratulatory phrases.
And ‘excited’? This is the other half of the dastardly duo. They always want to come across as ‘excited’ about what lies ahead in the vain hope that this will simply ‘rub off’ onto us….because, after all, that’s all that is necessary to motivate, isn’t it?
If you read an email, or watch a video (as I did) before the Christmas/ New Year breakup from your ‘leaders’ saying something like:
“I’m proud of what we’ve achieved this year, in spite of the many challenges we’ve been through…and I am very excited about the opportunities ahead of us next year and what we can achieve….so have a relaxing break.”
…this could equally be translated as saying:
- I am pleased that those of you who are still around (who didn’t leave or weren’t pushed) have put up with what we’ve done to you this year, and I got my bonus on the back of this….
- …expect lots more stuff to be done to you next year (we’ve got loads of stuff in our heads to impose on you), and we will be holding you accountable for a set of stretching targets on brilliantly crafted personal objectives that will be SMART DUMB
- Have a good break…because you are going to need it!