Pride is sometimes viewed as a negative emotion, as in someone having an excess of pride that makes him/her somewhat annoying to be around. However, if you think of taking pride in your work–giving it your absolute best, consistently–that doesn’t sound much like a negative, does it?
Whether pride is considered a negative or a positive emotion depends a lot on what the underlying motivation is. For example, if you’re spurred on mainly by a desire to outshine everyone else, your sense of pride will probably come across as self-importance. That could make you someone other people don’t particularly want to spend time around, someone they’d rather not have to work with or for.
By the same token, if you contribute valuable effort on a critical team project but then try to hog all the glory for yourself, you won’t do much to “win friends and influence people.”
On the other hand, if you care more about the success of the project than about grabbing attention for yourself, you can take pride in the successful outcome as a contributing team member but not alienate your teammates by angling to focus the spotlight on your own efforts.
Which is not to say there’s anything wrong with feeling a strong sense of satisfaction that you were able to bring substantial value to the project. It’s also perfectly fine to appreciate when people congratulate you for your efforts and feel proud of what you helped accomplish.
So when is being proud of your work most valuable?
The persistent effort to achieve desired goals in your work offers clearly understandable value. When you persevere and deliver outstanding results, your performance benefits both you and your company. Pride follows naturally and isn’t out of line as long as you don’t let the success go to your head.
Putting out consistently excellent effort, whether as an executive in charge of a large organization or as a member of a small but important team, is essential to long-term career success. Determination to advance to the next level in your career relies heavily on your willingness to make that kind of effort and, often, to encourage others to do the same.
If you’re a manager trying to figure out how to motivate your team to achieve greater results, you might be interested in an article titled “The Connection between Pride and Persistence.”
In part, the article states: “…pride led people to value the future….Rather than relying on the force of willpower to keep working diligently toward a long-term goal, pride can ease the way by automatically enhancing the perceived value of future rewards. The more desirable any future reward is, the less you have to convince yourself to keep working toward it.”
If your goal is a positive one and you achieve it, you can be justifiably proud of your work. However, if your effort takes a while to bear fruit but the result is highly desirable, you’ll probably find that being persistent and waiting to see the outcome unfold was well worthwhile.