There’s always been something in the American ethos which rejects the concept of worth simply because of a title – kings, queens, dukes, duchesses, princes, princesses are all people who happened to be born in a luckier context. American culture has always had an understanding that those individuals fortunate enough to have a better birth right didn’t actually have any more intrinsic worth.
Sure, kings had more dominion but that didn’t make their decisions implicitly smarter. A wise king would seek counsel specifically to fight the arrogance that came with his position. He understood how easy it was to be so blind to his own faults with a court full of people doing his bidding. Listening only to the voices of the sycophants often led to tragedy. The humble king understood that wisdom wasn’t his and his alone.
So, it seems ironic that in the naturally rebellious culture of America, we’ve generated the same issue. Sure our titles aren’t king or queen, but they are CEO, Senior VP, Global Head of Blah Blah. Whatever it is, we can often confuse our hard work as the cause of our title rather than a contributing element. It isn’t fun to admit that I may, in fact, owe my title in part (or whole) to luck, circumstance, benevolence, or some other factor. We’d much rather listen to and trust in the story circling within our heads of how we worked hard and deserve it.
So the next time you go to work perhaps the little people in your kingdom could be seen again as equals that you help make successful and not peasants that bring you tribute.
After all, many American companies talk about their people being their most valuable asset, but what they really mean is that people are their most costly commodity. After all, everyone is replaceable…
Why do I think this?
Because typically when leaders talk about people being valuable, they frame it in terms of cost and effort to replace them (even though possible), ignoring the unique skills, talents, and strengths each person brings to the table.