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About Hubris

Managing Hubris

The vital pre-condition to managing the risks of Hubris Syndrome is being aware of the possibility of the syndrome’s existence. In other words, being alert to the fact that that people in positions of power may not be wilfully reckless, but in the grip of a syndrome that is creating a personality change and affecting their decision-making.

Being aware of the potential existence of Hubris Syndrome can help a leader’s superiors (eg. Board directors) or colleagues spot it early.

Once the possibility of Hubris Syndrome is identified, mentoring and counselling are options. Ensuring leaders have ‘toe holders’ – people who can ensure they keep at least one foot on the ground and anchored to reality – is one potential strategy: limiting tenures is another.

Ultimately however, if Hubris Syndrome can’t be curbed, it may be that the individual has to be removed from office because they’re simply too dangerous to the success, or even survival, of the organisation

“Cherish risk-taking leadership, cherish the idea of leaders who are prepared to take a calculated risk, but make sure the risk is calculated, make sure that they are listening, that they’re not shutting out the facts and not just completely a one-man band.”
Lord David Owen