Into the Seven Dragon’s Lair

Accountability Empathy Personal leadership


Key Point: Understanding how to better recognize our Dragons and manage them is an important self-awareness journey. As promised in the last blog, the following is a deeper dive, starting with the “gateway” to all Dragons: Stubbornness!  

The Stubbornness Dragon

People with Stubbornness can slide to any of the other Dragons easier. The positive aspect of Stubbornness is determination: Taking a course of action and sticking with it. The negative aspect is obstinacy, digging in and refusing to deviate from a position — even when it may be the “right” thing to do. This Dragon draws its strength from a fear of being viewed as weak if one allows others to influence decision-making, or “tells us what to do.”

Stubborn people resist changes that threaten their sense of security. They may not be sincere when participating in their workplace as an “all in” team member because they’re “sure they’re right.” The political savvy person struggling with this Dragon often tries to hide obstinacy with a “show” of interest in other views. However my experience is that “underneath,” they are usually gritting their teeth in resistance to other viewpoints. They can become upset easily when someone wants to change something or challenge them. They tend to say “no” very quickly without REALLY listening to what is being asked of them. When pushed or challenged they get angry and dig in their heels even more.

My experience is that STUBBORNNESS, particularly in senior executives, is discouraging at best and dangerous at worst. Leaders struggling to control this Dragon can eventually surround themselves with “yes” people and over time they intentionally or unintentionally push people who have different views out of their sphere. The quality of their leadership decision-making usually deteriorates over time.

The Arrogance Dragon 

The positive side of Arrogance can be charming confidence. The negative aspect of Arrogance emanates from a fear of being judged. Underneath a brave exterior, people struggling with this dragon often feel inferior and insecure.  Arrogant people are very self-conscious. Because of their fear, they try and heap too much attention on themselves. They are often afraid they will be overlooked or ignored so they feel they have to brag and “chest thump” to get approval from others. They cover their shyness, self-consciousness or aloofness by trying to appear perfect so they will not be criticized. They may have been subjected to very harsh criticism and have learned to defend themselves. They can be very critical and judgmental of others.

My experience is people struggling with this Dragon are more annoying than worrisome. Understanding the root cause of the arrogance often allows us to work and look past the bragging and self-attention. However, over time these folks can lose credibility.

Character Moves: 

If you are struggling with the negative aspects of these Dragons: 

  1. Know your triggers. Learn to recognize when your defensive mechanisms come up. Realize that you are probably not really being attacked or judged. When you catch yourself feeling defensive, take a deep breath… Give yourself time before responding.
  1. Learn how to listen when someone asks a question or makes a suggestion. Ask people to re-state their views. Try to understand what others are saying by repeating back what you think you heard. Do NOT just expect the other party to do the listening. If you find yourself annoyed that the other person hasn’t listened to you… Look in the mirror. 
  1. Recognize that your worldview is just ONE view and other people have good ideas that may be just as valid as yours.
  1. Most importantly… Surround yourself with strong people that are fearless in challenging your views. Find them… Embrace them… Thank them. You need them.

Positive Dragons in the Triangle,


One Millennial View: Let’s just say I’m too stubborn to write a response that would allow me to water down my utter dislike for last minute change (I tried)… I hate sudden change. Don’t get me wrong, I will adapt accordingly, but I’ll probably be wearing a fake smile through it that is more transparent than I think it is… As for arrogance, that’s not really me, but every Millennial with an ear open knows the significance of confidence. They also are aware of the existence of a subtle line between arrogance and confidence. “There’s a big difference between cocky and confident,” we’ll often hear. Confidence is important, very important, and those who don’t exude it wish that they had more. I think the most important thing to remember is to “realize you are probably not really being attacked or judged” when you think you are. Remember, “nothing is ever as bad as you think it is,” and that likely goes for whatever inner monologue is knocking that confidence down. Maybe if we’re not so stubborn with negative thoughts, we can gain more confidence.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis