When Can Confidence and Success Be Bad For Business

…Cuando Pueden Ser Malo La Confianza y El Exitó Para Su Negocio?

(version español haz clic acá)

This is part of the 7 habits of bad business leaders series.  Check out the other parts here. The purpose of the series is to break down the English language in Eric Jackson’s Forbes article for non-native speakers.

Confidence and success are usually good in business.  There are a couple of situations where these qualities in a leader can be very bad.  When confidence and success begin to distort a leader’s reality, companies suffer.

Bad Habit #6: Bad leaders underestimate obstacles

Warning Sign:  Excessive hype

Bad Habit #7: Bad leaders stubbornly rely on what worked for them in the past

Warning Sign: Constantly referring to what worked in the past


The mona lisa is distorted.

The Mona Lisa is distorted to look like an alien.

To distort is to misrepresente or give a false, perverted meaning to  something.

To underestimate is to calculate or think something is less than it is.

Obstacles exist in business

We face many obstacles in business.

An obstacle is a challenge or hurdle.

Something excessive is too much of something.

Hype is exagerrated publicity of something or the dramatic and exciting promotion of something.  It usually emphasizes a very positive and sometimes false version of reality. Something hyped is something promoted  in a dramatic way or emphasizing characteristics that may not be real.

To stubbornly act is to act despite being told not to. A stubborn person is one that think they are right even when they are told they are not.

The mule is acting stubbornly

Mules act stubbornly

Bad habit 6 idea: Habit 6 leaders think challenges are less difficult than they are. While leaders need to be positive, they sometimes are too positive and do not recognize reality. Maybe they isolated themselves from people that told them the naked truth. (See habit 3 and 4)

Emperor's New Clothes and Hype

The Emperor's New Clothes and Hype

The warning sign of these leaders is that to they believe the  promoted version, the hyped public releases.  In difficult times, this can be disasterous for companies.  During good economics times, this can lead to very risky decisions or beliefs that cause problems for the company down the road.

There is a fairy tale about believing the hype called The Emperor’s New Clothes. In this story the emperor is convinced to believe that his new clothes could only be seen by those worthy to see them.  In reality there were no clothes and  a small child pointed this out. In the end the emperor looked very stupid.  The consequences in business go beyond looking stupid to hurting future business deals, financing and losing customer support.

Bad habit 7 idea: These leaders believe the present is like the past. They had success in the past and do not recognize the present is not the same.  Similar to believing the hype, these leaders do not see how their past successes don’t connect with the present.  These leaders are not talking about the future but instead the past.
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