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Leaders Ought to Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership by Phillip Van Hooser

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Chapter 10

Leadership Pitfalls

Ground Rule #10
Leaders’ wounds shouldn’t be self-inflicted;
Leaders flourish when serious errors of judgment are avoided.

Seven Deadly Sins

For much of recorded history, theologians, philosophers, sociologists, politicians, authors, and even thespians have observed, pondered, evaluated, and commented on the human condition—and they’ve often fixed their focus on our principal flaws. These intimate examinations of human life, behavior, and activity have revealed a common predisposition toward universal sins—serious errors in judgment—that predictably repeat themselves again and again, generation after generation.

In the 1995 film thriller Seven, starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and a cast of other notable actors, a sadistic serial killer justifies his carefully planned murders as absolution for the world’s ignorance of the human imperfections known as the seven deadly sins. These sins have been a central part of formal Christian religious education, instruction, and inspiration for millions of people worldwide for hundreds of years. As such, they are familiar to those who embrace faith-based concepts—as well as those who don’t. In case your memory is a bit foggy, I’ll remind you that the seven are:

  • Wrath
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Pride
  • Lust
  • Envy
  • Gluttony

These have long been identified as personal transgressions that are fatal to spiritual progress. But some similar professional transgressions can prove equally fatal to leadership progress. These workplace ...

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