Inflated Egos Ignore Ethics

Posted by on Oct 1, 2009 in Success!Ezine For You



E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2009

It happens all too often these days – those in power forget that they are subject to the rules that apply to the rest of society and suffer a fall from prominence because of their greed or abuse of privilege. Typically, arrogance and an inflated sense of importance are at the root of this. And, in fairness to many of these individuals, those around them have helped them to believe that they were “above it all”. People pander to them, tell them what they want to hear, and shower them with benefits that they haven’t earned or otherwise wouldn’t be entitled to. They let them slide on customs and conventions, making it easy for them to believe that rules are for “the little people” and don’t apply to them. Over time, their egos become more inflated and feelings of entitlement more pronounced. For many, these qualities have been a part of their core personality all along and often are factors that have propelled their success in some ways. After all, to forge new territory in business or to make tough, unpopular decisions requires the ability to act without fear or paralysis because of guilt or “conscience”. Taken too far, though, means feeling perfectly okay about using your power to prosper by manipulating others, exploiting them, or by breaking the law without feeling any guilt – and, often, without getting caught for many years. No different from the common criminal, the longer you are able to get away with this behavior, the easier it becomes to do. Indeed, some may actually reward you in business for these “talents”. But you can expect this grandiosity and feeling of invincibility to lead to your demise at some point, so take steps to avoid the fall.

  • Don’t Believe the Hype

Sure, you may be a wonderful individual, but are you really that wonderful? Probably not. The people around you will be extolling your virtues day and night, but you can’t take this too seriously. Their intentions are to curry favor and, while you realize this intellectually, remember it emotionally. Keep your feet on the ground.

  • Include Critics in Your Success Entourage

The chorus of “yes men” and “yes women” around you will be deafening, so don’t allow yourself to get out of touch with reality. Make sure that you have plenty of Critics in your Success Entourage – those closest to you who you trust and turn to for guidance and advice – who will “tell it like it is” and offer candid assessments and opinions even though they know you may not like what you hear. But note that a serious problem with inflated egos is that you may start ignoring even your trusted Critics as your success grows, so these folks must be very confident, assertive, tenacious folks who will keep hounding you with their blunt assessments of your thoughts and behavior — particularly when they feel that you are headed for trouble.

  • Keep Up With Codes of Conduct

Small errors in judgment and ethical breaches can easily become routine if you’re not constantly clear about what’s expected of your behavior. Once you become comfortable with breaking rules, you’re more likely to feel emboldened to engage in other violations, so keep yourself in check. Attend training provided by your organization or professional association. Get on the mailing list for all changes and updates to the code of conduct in your field. But don’t rely on yourself alone to stay abreast of these changes. Have your assistant track updates and make sure that you sign off on them. Schedule consultations with your counsel to ensure that you’re up to date on everything. Yes, these things are a hassle but just view them as a cost of doing business – and staying in business!

There are many benefits of being successful and it’s fine to enjoy the prominence and power associated with your success. But be smart about this. Remember that the rules of society apply to you too, and that the fall is farther and harder from the top.


About the Author:

Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,

The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at or call 954.797.9766.

E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262  Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317

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