The opposite of humility is intransigence.
Ego is always driven by fear. It’s our need to:
- Be seen as the best
When we have our fear of falling short, our ego tends to get in the way.
But the opposite of humility is intransigent. I’m probably not going to use that word very much, because I can barely pronounce it, but it’s an interesting word. It means
An unwillingness, or refusing, to change one’s views or to agree.
It’s not necessarily ego where you’re trying to defend a point of view or defend your fear of failure, or your lack of recognition, it’s a conscious unwillingness and refusing to change your mind.
- It’s an unwillingness.
- It’s a determined refusal to change your view.
In our business world, we see this happen often, but it’s never quite as blatant as it looks. Occasionally, I’ll hear someone on a leadership team saying, “I don’t care what you say. I’m not going to agree with that approach.”
That makes my job and the job of the leader much more difficult when you have someone express that level of stubbornness. In an earlier blog, we talked about Winston Churchill’s humility. He was an incredibly stubborn man, but he would be open to listening to other people and trying to understand their point of view.
The intransigent person is not open. They are not open to understanding. That is not their goal. If you have an intransigent person on your team, I would highly recommend that you find them someplace else to work, someplace else in the organization, maybe in another organization.
Always be very careful not to act too quickly. You should make every effort to grow and develop and help that person change along the way, but if they are truly intransigent, you are not going to reach agreement. You are not going to reach unity. You are not going to move your organization forward without tremendous friction.
The cost of tolerating intransigent at the cost of unity is too high.
As a side note, I’ve talked about the word “tolerant” in previous blogs. I’m not in favor of being tolerant. To start with, the definition means the measure of poison you can ingest before you experience negative effects. Secondly, when people say you should be tolerant, they’re really saying that if you don’t agree with them, they won’t tolerate you. In the usage above, I have used the word as it’s intended. The cost of tolerating intransigent, the poisonous effects of allowing intransigent behavior to exist is too costly.
Be humble, don’t be intransigent. That’s the key.