A few days ago, I jumped on our Peloton bike here at home and fired-up a 30-minute cycling and arms workout by Cody, one of the popular trainers. This session was intense but well worth it!

During these workouts, the trainers carry a conversation with the participants. I have yet to figure out how they are able to do this given that I’m out-of-breath throughout most of the training session.

The CFO  

About 20 minutes into the workout, Cody acknowledged one of the participants who checked-in as the CFO. The gentleman provided a bit more information to Cody by sharing the following line in the chat …

I’m a Chief Financial Officer so I’m rich!”

Instead of letting the comment slide or taking the high-road, Cody was disturbed with the arrogancy displayed by the CFO.

He said … “Man! Okay … you are a CFO, and you are rich! Wow! It’s pretty sad you have to introduce yourself like that. You must be a lonely person. C’mon! Your title is not your personality.”

Title and Personality

If it were me, I would probably have let the silly comment by the CFO slide. In my case, I was too tired to keep up with the chat!

However, I do think people should be challenged sometimes, especially when they think they are more important than others by using a rank within the company to demonstrate their value.  As a business professor, I’m aware that the leadership literature clearly emphasizes the value of remaining humble and practicing servant leadership, especially as one climbs the corporate ladder.

My Example

Many years ago, while working for a major insurance and investment company, I experienced a situation like the Peloton example with Cody. 

One of our team members, Daniel, was promoted to the position of Director of IT, and he immediately transitioned to this position.

A week later, I ran into Daniel and another director in the cafeteria, and he pretended not to know me anymore. We made eye contact, and he quickly started a conversation with his new counterpart.

I remember this situation like it happened yesterday. I guess it truly had an impact on me. I worked with Daniel daily for more than a year, and we were assigned to several projects together. In fact, on some occasions, we worked late into the evening to meet important deadlines.

This conversation reminds me of something Deacon Warren from Holy Spirit said recently when discussing the word “ego.” He said, “Ego stands for edging God out.”

When someone has an exaggerated sense of self-importance, they quickly lose sight of reality.

While I may not agree with the way Cody handled the CFO situation during the workout, I think it is important to remind others that there should be a clear distinction between the title they hold and their personality.

The bottom line is … everyone is replaceable.