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Hubris Syndrome

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“A Hubris CEO of a large multinational company could make uncalculated decisions, causing the company to go bankrupt and therefore negatively impacting the overall economy. Similarly, a Hubris political leader may cause a 1000’s of years old nation, to collapse in one decade or less. Hubris leaders will cause substantial damage wherever they are.”

Engy Shahbander

The bright side of most leaders’ personalities is their intelligence, perseverance, charisma which is often coupled with the ability to inspire and persuade the masses, such qualities may be very beneficial to a nation if utilized for its benefit, which is exactly where the problem lies – Who gets to decide the benefit of the nation? Are there set definitions and criteria of  “the benefit of the nation” or is it open for interpretation? The reality is that definitions and interpretations, are often set by the leaders themselves. They tend to have extreme pride and overconfidence, as well as a complete disregard for the “intellect” of others. They are powerful and have the means to “impose” their vision on everyone else, while punishing those who dare to oppose them. These character traits, can be summarized by the term “hubris”. In Greek mythology, Hubris describes the behavior of an individual who defies the norms or challenges the gods. Perpetrators of Hubris are usually punished by the Greek gods for their arrogance, however, such a punishment, seldom occurs in real life by society.

Lord Owen, a neuropsychiatrist, peace negotiator and former British Foreign Secretary, and Jonathan Davidson, a member of the House of Lords and psychiatrist at Duke University Medical Center offered a classification for such behavior, and labeled it as, “Hubris Syndrome”, which is acquired after attainment of power. The are fourteen symptoms of hubris syndrome identified by Owen and Davidson. In researching these symptoms, they noted that Hubris syndrome shares quite a few symptoms with cluster B personality disorders, which are characterized by dramatic, unpredictable thinking or behavior and grandiose ideas of one’s self. Amongst those disorders, is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Antisocial Disorder (APD) and Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD). NPD was especially emphasized by the authors, as 50% of Hubris syndrome symptoms are in common with it. Being a personality disorder that involves exaggerated feelings of self-importance, excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy towards others, such an overlap doesn’t come as a surprise, with the first five being unique to Hubris syndrome:

  • An identification with the nation or organization –  A tendency to speak of themselves in the third person or use the royal ‘we’. For example, in his manifesto confirming the abdication of Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich, Emperor Alexander I begins: “By the Grace of God, We, Alexander I, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias…”.[1]
  • A belief that rather than being accountable to the mundane court of colleagues or public opinion, the real court to which they answer is much greater: history or god – “Condemn me; it does not matter. History will absolve me…” -Fidel Castro .[2]
  • An unshakable belief that in that they will be vindicated by god. Hubiristic leaders tend to feel that god is on their side, and therefore, they will always win!
  • Restlessness, recklessness and impulsiveness-  Engaging in wars or large projects without proper studies of the outcomes.
  • A tendency to allow their ‘broad vision’, especially their conviction about the moral rectitude of a proposed course of action, to obviate the need to consider other aspects of it, such as its practicality, cost and the possibility of unwanted outcomes.
  • A propensity to see the world primarily as an arena in which to exercise power and seek glory: Homeland or death! Socialism or death! We shall overcome -Fidel Castro .[3]
  • A predisposition to take actions which seem likely to cast the individual in a good light – taken in part in order to enhance their image. Hubiristic leaders tend to perform atrocities towards their people, under the pretext of protecting the nation. “I want you to know that everything I did, I did for my country…” ​-Pol Pot .[4]
  • A disproportionate concern with image and presentation – Most hubiristic dictators  will be show on television performing various acts of “kindness”, such as; playing with children, helping the elderly, building houses of worship… etc.
  • A messianic way of talking and a tendency to exaltation in speech and manner- Hubiristic leaders will often claim that they are representing god on earth and that their actions are direct commands from God.
  • Excessive confidence in the individual’s own judgement and contempt for the advice or criticism of others. Hubristic leaders tend to have unlimited confidence in their judgment, they will either disregard their advisors recommendations or not consult with them at all.
  • Exaggerated self-belief, bordering on a sense of omnipotence, in what they personally can achieve. Hubiristic leaders tend to feel they can accomplish miracles. They tend to engage in wars and lose them, or large economic projects without proper feasibility studies.
  • Loss of contact with reality; often associated with progressive isolation. They will contradict reality and proven facts, and make statements about prosperity and advancements of their nation or organization.
  • Incompetence in carrying out a policy, where things go wrong precisely because too much self-confidence has led the leader not to worry about the nuts and bolts of a policy. Again this is a result of over-confidence. They believe their abilities are significantly superior to others, that their execution will be successful regardless of the attention to detail.

“Owen and Davidson studied the psychological profiles of the UK Prime Ministers and US Presidents in power in the last century, looking for hubristic traits and hubris syndrome. They found a few US presidents who displayed solid hubristic traits: the two Roosevelts, Woodrow Wilson, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and  Richard Nixon. However, George W Bush was the only one to display the full blown syndrome.

Amongst UK prime ministers — Herber Asquith, David Lloyd George, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Margaret Thatcher, and Tony Blair displayed hubristic traits, with Lloyd George, Chamberlain, Thatcher and Blair, displaying the full blown  syndrome.”

Hubris syndrome isn’t limited to political leaders, any person in a position of considerable power, can suffer from Hubris. Although, Hubris syndrome is not a formal diagnosis and has not been yet accepted by the medical community, a formal diagnosis is necessary in a world full of wars and injustice. Some may question the importance of such a diagnosis, since Hubris leaders are not likely to accept the idea of them being hubris, let alone seek treatment. However such a formal diagnosis will allow for more research, which will enable us to understand the dynamics of interaction of Hubris leaders and others. A Hubris CEO of a large multinational company could make uncalculated decisions, causing the company to go bankrupt and therefore negatively impacting the overall economy. Similarly, a Hubris political leader may cause a 1000’s of years old nation, to collapse in one decade or less. Hubris leaders will cause substantial damage wherever they are. “Be aware of Hubris leaders”- should be the slogan of voters and HR personnel!

Written By: Dr. Engy Shahbander

References:
Owen, David & Davidson, Jonathan. (2014). Brain - Owen & Davidson Hubris 2009

1- “Russian Imperial House – Manifesto of Emperor Alexander I, Confirming the Abdication of Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich and Designating Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich as Heir, 16 August 1823”. www.imperialhouse.ru.

2-https://www.milesanthonysmith.com/blog/55-infamous-dictator-leadership-quotes-despotic-autocratic-tyrannical

3- https://www.themastonline.com/2019/04/14/well-never-abandon-venezuela-castro/

4- https://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/pol-pot

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Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 – where balance, resilience and authenticity break the Mental Health Stigma

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Written by: Cinzia Nitti

Globally, 2020 has been a year like no other. Coronavirus pandemic caused a massive business disruption; transformation has been key in supporting employees and catalyzing workplace changes. There was a rush to adapt and reinvent Business Models. Organizations had to rethink and reconsider how they deliver services and strengthen their Organizations through a forward-thinking Digital strategy. To be more agile and responsive in such uncertain times, we need to respond to challenges and adapt quickly to new scenarios by moving from rigid hierarchies to leaner and more flexible structures.

But what about Mental Health at Work, and why is it essential?

What’s the Office of the Future?

Within the Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021, HR Leaders tried to normalize the conversation about Mental Health by putting the topic first, enabling self-care and professional support, raising awareness, and building knowledge around its related issues. Nowadays, personal and work life are more intertwined than ever, so it becomes vital to create balance: the more employees feel free to talk about Mental Health, the more they can prevent struggle and breakout at the Workplace. HR leaders play a crucial role in making an IMPACT by pushing new solutions, promoting work-life balance, redesign workloads, and supporting their Teams.

In this general frame, Irada Aghamaliyeva (MENA Diversity, Inclusiveness & Wellbeing Leader at EY) affirmed: “Workplaces that are inclusive foster enhanced employee wellbeing; employees with high levels of wellbeing are more inclusive”. How can Organizations increase employees’ resilience and embed sustainable Leadership behaviors in the post-covid reality?

Dr. Irada Aghamaliyeva introduced the Mindfulness practice in the Workplace and highlighted its benefits on a large scale: improved wellbeing and resilience on a physical level; positive emotions, self-regulation, empathy and awareness of social dynamics; learning and innovation thanks to the implementation of flexible thinking, intuition and problem-solving processes. So breaking the stigma is possible, starting from personal wellbeing to sustain positive energy and fuel resilience.

About the Power of Empathetic and Authentic Leadership, Dr. Rima Ghose Chowdhury (EVP & Chief Human Resources Officers at Datamatics Global Services) stresses the importance of Leadership roles today. The virtual environment employees are working in, makes them more vulnerable due to a lack of balance between emotional and authenticity traits. Authenticity is the primary factor in effective leadership, regardless of the leadership style. Putting employees first as a strategic priority and hearing their voices to guide strategy; embracing agility to work more effectively in tumultuous time; including a multigenerational work-force: these are the key concepts within Dr. Rima’s motto “Empowering is to enable”. Through motivation and filling emotional support needs, the Empowering Teams Process leads to employees’ safety, esteem, and self-actualization. 

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. To know more about the FOW Future of Work Insights platform around the world, click here: https://fowinsights.com/

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The Wellbeing @ Work virtual Summit Middle East returns for its 5th annual event on 22-24 February 2021

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The summit provides an innovative and experiential virtual learning opportunity for our audience of CEOs, benefit and reward business leaders and senior HR professionals. The information and knowledge gained from attending this event allow the opportunity to make strategic wellbeing and mental health decisions within an organization, supporting our mission to create more flourishing and thriving workplaces. Never before has the mental health and wellbeing of your employees been so important. The Wellbeing @ Work Summit includes keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops, and fireside chats alongside unrivaled networking with leaders across the Middle East using our AI-enabled matchmaking platform. This is far more than a webinar! An engaging 3-day event providing you invaluable insight and tools to create thriving workplaces.

Key Reasons to Attend:

  • An engaging AI-enabled matchmaking platform to make invaluable connections & host virtual meetings up to 2 weeks before the three-day festival
  • Learn how multinational organizations are creating workplaces where employees thrive in the new world
  • Campfire panel discussions informing workplace change & mental health solutions
  • Middle East-based employer case studies providing the secrets to employee wellbeing success
  • International experts bringing best-practice from across the globe
  • Invaluable networking with business leaders from across the Middle East

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. The design and implementation of a holistic wellbeing and mental health programme that delivers healthy outcomes and a more productive organization is paramount right now. 

In addition, the results of the extensive Middle East region-wide survey on wellbeing and mental fitness in organizations across the region made in partnership with Cognomie will be presented during the event.

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DECODING FUTURE HR: Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

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DECODING FUTURE HR: Today’s challenges are tomorrow’s trends and opportunities

Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

www.decodinghrevent.com

The world in 2020 has changed to a ‘new normality’ but what’s that ‘new normality’ everybody talks about? Is it here to stay? How is it affecting us in our daily lives in the different versions of ourselves? As a customer, an entrepreneur, a parent, a friend…a worker…

Our job is a key part of our lives and we are indeed living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks and jobs, and changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. These momentous changes raise huge organisational, talent and other HR challenges. It has become clear that few organisations are likely to revert to pre-pandemic practices even after a vaccine is found.

Decoding Future HR 2021 is bringing you the ideology of how today’s challenges are becoming tomorrow’s trends and opportunities resulting in HR excellence.

Why you should attend:

  • Learn about the trends and best practices shaping future HR
  • Get valuable insights from expert speakers
  • Share ideas and research to help your organisation reach its goals
  • Understand what do employees want in ‘New Normal’
  • Develop new vision for HRBP and Centre of Expertise
  • Identify, integrate and understand stakeholders to create an intentional employee experience
  • Approaches and elements to leadership development.

Some of our confirmed speakers:

  • Tshepo Yvonne Mosadi , Human Resources Director, The HEINEKEN Company
  • Sarah Tabet, Global HR Director/ D&I Leader | Author for “Inclusion Starts with U”, Schneider Electric
  • Wadah Al Turki, Country Talent Manager KSA and Bahrain, IKEA
  • Lesha Chakraborti, Head of HR – EMEA, Travelex
  • Shaban Butt, Director HR & Administration, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Sajjad Parmar, Head of Rewards – APAC, eBay
  • Katey Howard, VP, Talent Management AMESA, Pepsico
  • Chen Fong Tuan, HR & General Affairs Director, Samsung Electronics
  • Prerna Ajmera, Senior Director, HR Experiences and Solutions, Microsoft
  • Václav Koranda, Vice President Human Resources / Member of the Board of Directors, T-System
  • Amy MacGregor, VP Employee Experience, Global HR, Manulife
  • Adwait Kashalkar, People Analytics and Programme Management Leader, APAC, Mastercard

Click here to view all speakers: www.decodinghrevent.com/speakers

At Wisdom we remain positive that ‘normality’ will soon return and that we will be able to physically meet together once again as speakers, delegates and sponsors at our beautiful venues around the world. But meanwhile, life continues and we need to keep in touch and learn from each other. This 24-hour virtual event will be of great benefit and value to your businesses and its continued development during these challenging times. While this virtual event comes at a lesser cost, it provides for now a wider reach into an international audience, with flexibility of access to content as well as allowing you to have the same opportunity as at a face-to-face session for one-to-one business meetings. We look forward to welcoming you in January.

Date and time: 19-20 January 2021Where: Virtual engaging platform
  Further information and bookings: www.decodinghrevent.com        Contact:
marketing@wisdom.events   #WSDM_BI
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