Do You Know Who You Are?

If you lead your team with confidence then you will get followers. If you lead your team with arrogance then you will get nothing.

When I was an engineer working in Liverpool with their train operating company, I was good at innovating new modifications to improve the performance of the trains. This was noticed by my line manager and the other engineering managers in the depot.

So, after a while I was promoted to project manager, so I could make my innovations my day job. Most organisations around the world do the same, they see something good in someone and they promote them. If the newly promoted person can continue that good work then they start to stand out and become stars.

1. Do You Want To Make A Difference?

As you are reading my articles, I’m pretty sure that you have either been promoted or are looking to be promoted in your organisation. I am also pretty sure that you are already a star, or are a rising star. I am pretty sure about this because you are reading this and my other articles, and leaders are readers.

During my time working as an engineer, it’s amazing how many people said that they “Don’t want to become a manager or a leader.” But then a year later they are either supervisors, managers or even higher. I was one of those people too, but only so I wouldn’t get teased by the other engineers.


I believe that in all the industries throughout the world there are A LOT of people who WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, but they keep quiet about it. The hunger to become more, to have more and to do more becomes obvious in some people. Especially when you start talking about the future and what their dreams are.

I kept quiet about what I wanted to do in the future, because I would get teased by my team mates. Unfortunately, it was that way in most of the organisations I worked with.

If people find out that you want to become the boss one day, then that is ammunition for them to ridicule you. However, it is an obstacle that you have to overcome, and you must stay on your leadership journey.

2. Do You Want To Become A Leader?

When you learn to become a leader within your team, as one of the team, and you can lead well, you are setting yourself up for the future. For example, if there is a vacancy for a leadership position, then you are most likely to get it. You have proved you can be a leader without a position of authority.

I have also seen people promoted who didn’t want to be promoted because they were high performing. But, they were not necessarily the best leader, or wanted to be. When that happens it is usually the worst case scenario in an organisation.

Other times, managers are brought in from a different department or from the outside world. This can work, as long as whoever they bring in has the right development.

If they haven’t, then hopefully the organisation they are joining will develop them. But most of the time, the new manager is usually promoted within the team. The reason for that is the hiring manager wants someone they know and can trust to “do the job”.

It is essential that the person they promote MUST know HOW to do the job before they are promoted, not after. They person will require leadership training while he/she is still a member of the team.

Unfortunately in most organisations, leadership training for teams doesn’t happen. Hence, another reason why I am writing these articles.

People who are not in leadership positions, are usually overlooked when it comes to leadership training. So, when they eventually become managers, they are underdeveloped. It is time for this to change, and as you are reading this article, you can help me make this change.

3. What Positive Change Can You Make?

Offices, factories, manufacturing plants and depot shop floors are where most of the people in our organisations work. Wouldn’t it make sense to develop the people where the bulk of the work gets done?

If we don’t develop these people, then the results for the organisation are going to be nowhere near its potential. The leaders of the organisation recognise this as a fact, but the managers are totally oblivious. It should be the other way around.

Most of the managers I have ever worked with want to make a difference, and achieve great results. But they just don’t know how to lead.

They are confident people but it can come across as arrogant, because they don’t know how to have humility. They need to realise that to be a highly effective leader, you need to be confident and not arrogant.

If you are one of the best members on the team, but you are not humble then that can sometimes be overlooked. The rest of the team might say “That’s just the way he is.”

However, when you are the manager, then it is very important that you remain humble. If you are an arrogant boss, it will be plain to see to everyone, and will not be tolerated.

Arrogant people generally think they are better than everyone else. If you are a manager and you think you are better than the rest of the team, how do you think they will feel? Are they likely to follow you because they want to? Are they likely to build a relationship with you? Most importantly, are they likely to trust you?

The simple answer is: NO!

4. Do You Have Humility?

If your team don’t want to follow you, build a relationship with you, or trust you, it is going to be extremely difficult for you. You will find it very tough to lead and influence the team.


To have humility is a decision that each of us can make, just like the decision to be arrogant. Don’t miss the point, I am not saying that we need to think less of ourselves, we just have to think of ourselves less, and more of others. That is what leadership is all about.

What decision will you make? Are you a humble, confident person or an arrogant person? If you want to influence your team and others in the organisation, then you know what decision to make.

Highly effective leaders are servant leaders. They are confident, humble leaders and think of themselves less and more of others. Highly effective leaders go to work every day to serve their team.

Insecure leaders go to work every day to be served by their team. You know what type of leader has the most influence, so make sure you make the right decision. That is who you are!

Being a confident and humble leader is how highly effective leaders are able to take responsibility for their team, whether they perform well or not. Being an arrogant and insecure leader is when you start blaming your team for any poor results. What kind of leader are you?

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

Check out my other articles by Clicking HERE

All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

44 thoughts on “Do You Know Who You Are?

  1. I have worked for some good and some bad managers in my time and it is certainly true to say that the worst are usually the most arrogant.

    Whether it be in my work life or my personal life, I just don’t have time for arrogant people! They immediately turn me off and hence get no response! I’m sure I can’t be alone in this opinion and attitude!

    Therefore, it is quite surprising that there are still so many arrogant managers around. You would think in these days that companies would have learnt that the arrogant manager that may sell himself (or herself) perfectly in an interview situation is in reality just going to cause a negative environment on the shop floor.

    I currently have a very arrogant manager. I certainly would not describe him as a leader. I am constantly biting my lip and just trying to get on withy my work but with no desire to impress him etc! I wonder if he knows who he is?

    1. Hi Lawrence,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased that you found the article valuable.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences of working with good and bad managers. I have had similar experiences to you, and there will many others who can learn from you too.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  2. First of all I like your site design how you put things step by step. It helps me to read very easily. In this article I understand everything about leader and self confidence.

    You talked about general things in life such as have to be humble even we are own boss and have to respect all. Thank you for this good information.

    1. Hi Manu,

      Thank you for your comment and for the kind words regarding my site design.

      It would be great if you could elaborate on what you learned from the article. Is there anything that you have had similar experiences in?

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  3. Hey Tom. Your article really resonated with me!

    Especially because… Plot twist 😛 => I am exactly one of those >>many people that say they “Don’t want to become a manager or a leader.”<<

    I used to be promoted into a leading position when I was just 24 years old. It's not that I was bad at it. It just didn't fulfill me with joy… And it caused a lot of stress to me. Maybe I was too young for the responsibilities that came with it? Hard to tell.

    Today, I am a software developer. I work on my issues, I engineer software, I solve problems. And I love it!

    The best part, for me personally, is that I can focus on it and do it without dealing with "my" team members' problems or any other management stuff like discussing abstract KPIs with customers or top level mangers…

    A part of me just does not WANT to do that. I really enjoy "just hacking"! And the other part is a bit afraid of it, I guess…

    Due to my skill set I get emails from head hunters pretty much on a daily basis. And many claim that I could be a team manager and that I would have fantastic career opportunities. They just don't resonate with me… However, even if I'm totally happy with my job and I really don't want any other responsibilities than engineering and coding, I sometimes have that feeling of missing out. It's hard to explain…

    What are your thoughts on that? Any recommendations? 🙂


    1. Hi Chris,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased that the article resonated with you.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences as a manager and how it wasn’t the role for you. There will be many people who will read this or similar articles who will be in the same position as you. I know a lot of people like that myself.

      My recommendation to you is do what you love. You are still a leader if you don’t have the position or title. You are leading your other team members by being the best software developer and coding guy you can be. You are leading your team by example and that is the most important leadership principle. Just because being a manager or a supervisor doesn’t fill you with joy, it doesn’t mean that leadership won’t.

      So, my recommendation is to continue doing what you love, and continue leading others by the example of being the best you can be. If you do that then you will be an inspiration and a role model.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  4. Hi Tom,

    I honestly believe that the vast majority of industries don’t do nearly enough when it comes to developing someone as a manager or leader.

    From my experience in Banking, we typically wanted to promote from within the company, but oftentimes this would be a high-performing person who had no real leadership experience.

    The 3 companies I worked for throughout my career would generally have a 5-day course that would go through the various requirements for new managers/leaders.

    However, I never believed that this was enough.

    There was a focus on management within the company environment, some form of leadership skills training, and that was pretty much it – you’re good to go.

    Personally, I find that I learn things best through actually doing them, but I have seen many managers come and go over the years because they simply weren’t ready to fulfill the role.

    Plus, I felt the initial training was lacking.

    In fact, I learned many of the things that I needed to know from outside sources, such as your website, but I’m not sure that everyone would take this approach.

    I believe this is why many companies will employ managers and leaders from an outside source, as they want someone who already has the experience.

    I honestly think that being a great leader means that you have to work on yourself as a person, and be responsible for your own development.

    However, someone very new to the role may not have the same inclination towards learning and may end up feeling overwhlemed by their new position.

    Talking about being humble – I’m not even sure that humility can be a learned skill (I’m sure it eventually can).

    What do you think Tom?

    Are the various life skills that we need to be a great leader all learnable?

    It would be great to hear your input.


    1. Hi Partha,

      Thank you for your detailed comment as always. I’m pleased you found this article valuable.

      In answer to your question, humility definitely can be learned. Having humility shows that you are willing to put others first, and help them to work towards the team’s purpose. Having humility is a strength for a highly effective leader and putting the needs of others before their own can only make the team stronger. A highly effective leader with humility wants the best for their team. A highly effective leader with humility brings out the best for their team. A highly effective leader with humility focusses on the purpose and cause, and how each one of us can make a difference.

      This certainly can be learned.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  5. I love your leadership ideas Tom. This quote is truly awesome – “If you lead your team with confidence then you will get followers. If you lead your team with arrogance then you will get nothing”.
    It’s great to be reminded of how to be an effective leader. Only the greatest leaders are successful. And leadership is required in the market space now, more than ever.

    1. Hi Aparna,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased that you love my leadership ideas and principles.

      Keep practicing what you learn from me and from other people too, and you will be well on your way to becoming a highly effective leader.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  6. As always, your article brought a memory back. This time about a book I got from a colleague: The Peter’s Principle. I suppose you know it or even read it, Tom, since your article describes it. 🙂

    It says that usually the best craftsperson in the group gets the promotion, but that is not always the best leader. There are different characteristics necessary for a being good at a craft or for leadership. And that people will get promoted until they are at a place where they can’t make a difference anymore.

    So I guess it is always good for an ambitious person to have self-knowledge, to know who they are. And to educate themselves on terrains they are not good at.

    In that regard your website is very helpful, as you always have great tips for leaders and future leaders. 🙂

    1. Hi Hannie,

      Thank you for your comment. I am pleased that my article has brought back a memory.

      I have not heard of the book the Peter’s principle. Are you recommending that I should read it?

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  7. Hey Tom,
    Your article is an eye opener. At the end of 2019 I went through a 360 degree managers and above leadership training.
    There was no element of leadership training for teams – it was really others analysis of me, my analysis of me and coaching based on that. I agree with your analysis and about the need to be humble, not be arrogant and to strive to be servant leaders in order to be a highly effective leader.

    One thing I have really struggles with is a fellow Manager at the same level – who serves her team but runs like a ring fence around them. For example if you ask her or her team to do anything you will get a no or heavily scritunized response. Always protective and reluctant to help you or impose on her team at all. On the other hand, she expects everything from others. She is also highly skilled at going to Directors and above to influence them to reduce her teams workload OR get other business areas to do the work.

    I feel she is highly skilled at playing the game, but myself and a few others see right through that and her true character. And no one wants to be like that. But I guess we will always have people challenges working in any organisation.

    1. Hi John,

      Thank you for your comment. I am really pleased that you found this article valuable.

      I appreciate you sharing your experiences of being a manager and working with other managers who you are having a few issues with. I have had similar expereinces, as you have read. There will be others who can relate to our experiences and hopefully learn from us. It is not OK to not help others but expect others to help you, as your colleague does. I would talk to her about it, and see why she feels it is OK to behave that way. Coach her on this and try to hep her see what she is doing.

      If you need any help with this then please reach out to me.

      All the best,


      1. Thanks Tom,
        I appreciate you taking time to respond. I’m on a sabbatical until April 2021 so will face the issues then and follow your advice.

        1. Hi John,

          Thank you for your response. Keep me updated on how you are doing when you are back in April.

          All the best with your sabbatical.


  8. Great article
    I was an engineer myself and was planning to move up the ranks however I lost the drive as I wanted to work for myself.
    I guess I wanted to be a leader more than a manager so that is why I am now doing my own thing with my different businesses.

    I like the point where you mention humility because that is what is needed in any thing you do, whether business or wanting to become a manager.

    1. Hi Thabo,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found this a great article, means a great deal to me.

      It’s great to hear how you went from engineer to now running your own business because I am in the same boat as you. Although I am still involved in the engineering side for the moment. You are right, humility is what is needed in anything we do. We need to put others first a lot of the time and see things from different perspectives.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  9. I think that arrogance is a sign of weakness, because in my opinion, people who are arrogant maybe feel insecure deep down and are covering that up with an arrogant attitude.
    You can be confident and still show humility. I believe that showing humility is a strength, because then you recognize the stenghts in others and treat them as equals. When a manager treats his co-workers as equals and not as “minions who are under him”, he will get much better results.

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so happy that you found this article valuable.

      I completely agree with you that arrogance can be a sign of weakness. I know a lot of arrogant people and I know that they are insecure people. They are masking their insecurities by being arrogant.

      Humility is very much a strength, and recognising the strengths of others is what leadership is all about. I believe you have this strength and you can see the strengths of others too.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  10. Becoming an effective leader interests me, but managing others does not stir up any excitement. Leading a proactive group of go-getters is more inspiring than just managing a workplace. Most managers end up babysitting and trying to get people to show up.

    Arrogance does not fly with me. I am impressed when someone can lead by getting involved when needed.

    Effective leaders need to thin out the herd when someone lacks motivation or is incapable of doing the task at hand. If someone does not buy into your vision, it is time to move on.

    One must be humble enough and listen with both ears to any helpful improvements. I have witnessed so many companies ignore staff feedback which could improve customer relations and employee satisfaction. You have to know what is going on at the front-line and that comes down to communication.

    Thanks for the post, Tom.

    Sincerely, Brian.

    1. Hi Brian,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great to hear that being a highly effective leader interests you.

      I love how you say, leading a group of go-getters is more inspiring because that is exactly what it should do….inspire us.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  11. Hi Tom,

    This article reminded me of myself. I was one with plenty of confidence in my teenage years and I have to admit – I thought I was the best in my unit. So I could not understand why I didn’t get the top position.

    It was only later when my close friends were brave enough to slap the truth to my face: Everyone thought I was arrogant. Good, but arrogant. That was my downfall and I will never forget that.

    It will always be a reminder. To stay humble and to understand the people around me more. I’m more aware and I’m looking to improve as a leader, as I move forward.

    This article will indeed be useful for rising leaders. Thank you, Tom.


    1. Hi Sam,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found this article reminded you of yourself. That is such a valuable thing for me.

      There is a very fine line between arrogance and confidence and that fine line is humility. I know you have humility because you are sharing tough experiences of people who thought you were arrogant and you realised that you need to work on yourself to change that. Well done in doing that and continue being that confident person.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  12. I must admit I enjoyed this article on several different layers. I think the information was outlined well and understandable because of the way you presented it. I liked how you described your own personal journey, perhaps as a parameter from which to draw out any of my own personal experiences. I have also found that a good leader needs to lead with confidence, as well as humility. A great leader is able to surround him or herself, with better people and recognize that fact! A great leader will be glad that they’re “leading” a great group of people! You indeed are a great influencer and as such, made me want to download your e-book to learn more. Thanks for the great guidance!

    1. Hi Yvette,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you enjoyed this article.

      Presenting our own experiences when tying to teach new things is a lot more powerful, and people will be able to relate to them a lot better.

      I completely agree with you that a great leader is able to surround themselves with the right people and bring the best for those people. Helping them to be their best is what leadership is all about.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  13. First things first, when I saw the title of this post and clicked to read it, I expected a totally different topic. I expected a post about us as human beings and who we really are.

    Nonetheless, you haven’t disappointed, Tom. As always, your post is right on the top of the things. I like your way of approaching leadership and enjoy reading about your experiences. There’s always a lot to learn from you.

    I’ve been in a situation where I was in charge of the team of people. Luckily, I’ve had the opportunity to watch other great leaders before I jumped into their shoes. One thing you’re absolutely right about. Confident and humble leaders will always get the best out of their team.

    Thanks again for sharing yet another awesome post, Tom! Keep up the good work

    1. Hi Ivan,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that this article surprised you in a good way, as it means so much to me.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences of being in charge of a team of people and that you had the opportunity to follow other leaders before you got to do it. Having a role model and a mentor is so important in leadership. Whether that be virtually or in real life.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  14. Hi Tom,

    Another beautiful article. I cannot agree with you more. After having too many leaders that they did not know how to be humble and take responsibility for their own actions and their team, I can say your article should be read by everyone who wants to be a true leader.

    Thank you so much for this article. I will send it to one of my friends who recently got promoted as a manager.

    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Yoana,

      Thank you for your comment. It means so much to me for you to say this is a beautiful article.

      I hope your friend does well with in their new role as a manager. Let me know what they think of the article and if I can help with anything then I am happy to.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  15. Excellent article Tom, every potential or future leader should read this. Your quality in leadership skills shines my friend and it’s good to see you share it with others.

    Too many young people get the idea that a leader is a boss that just tells others what to do. They believe that they would make a great boss because they would love to tell everyone else what to do while they do nothing.

    I decided to give up the leadership role in someone else’s interest and take on my own.

    Before anyone can become a leader they need to be a good follower and learn to work as a team.

    I always enjoy reading your leadership articles Tom.
    Take care.

    1. Hi Rick,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found this an excellent article, means a lot to me.

      You are right that younger people believe that a leader just tells you what to do. When a leader is the exact opposite, we need to teach more younger people about leadership before they take up leadership positions.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  16. Hi Tom

    You make some very interesting observations in this article.
    I think that the reluctance in a large team of people to be identified as someone with ambition to rise is regrettably common.
    I remember in my first job I was one of many in a team of engineers and though it was considered acceptable to have ambitions to be promoted to more senior positions as an engineer, there was an expected timetable that you had to adhere to. You could become an outcast if you pushed yourself too hard too soon. In that situation, I moved up effectively by moving out to another employer.
    I see that same reluctance today in some of the teams I am responsible for. Even to the extent that some perfectly qualified people will not apply for a position if they think one of the other colleagues is more entitled to it because of their length of service.
    Thinking back I can remember times when I have allowed enthusiasm and determination to get a job done to spill over into what may have seemed like arrogant leadership, and instantly felt the negative reactions and regretted it a split second later. But by then it was too late, the damage was done.
    I agree with you that one of the problems is that people often arrive in positions of leadership without having received the necessary training. This is probably one of the reasons why so many people fail as leaders.
    I know this is old school thinking – but one of the things that make leaders in organizations more readily acceptable to the teams they are leading is just being older and more experienced. It is always difficult and awkward managing people who are older and have more experience than you do – I have been in that situation and there are some tough lessons to learn. It is also easier or at least it should be for older leaders to mellow and allow, or better empower the people they lead to shine. The challenge is to teach young leaders those skills.
    Thanks for a very thought-inspiring article.
    Best regards

    1. Hi Andy,

      Thank you for your very detailed comment. I’m glad that you found this a thought inspiring article.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences in past roles and also being in a leadership role. There will be many people who read this article and will be able to relate with your experience. Hopefully they can learn from you, just as much as they learn from the article.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  17. Hi Tom!

    Very insightful article:) While reading it I found a bit of my story, I work in the accountancy field and when looking back at my achievement and several promotions, I acknowledge that there were mainly thanks hard work, honesty and specially humility.

    Though with several years of hard work I acquired some skills which have made me stand out of the team and be noticed as a potential leader, I always try to remember that it is not our aptitude but our attitude that determines our altitude.

    This is a quote that is always in my mind as I have witnessed and experienced this situation several times.

    Having great technical skills which can make us have a promotion is one thing, Another import aspect that companies have to consider is that these potential ‘star employee’ also need empowerment and coaching for leadership and team management.

    As very often the new promoted employee who was a top performer in his/her technical skills find it ambiguous to manage a team – relationship, emotional intelligence, tactical decisions and all this with some tight deadlines imposed my higher management.

    Moreover I personally think that promoting inhouse will be extremely beneficial to the organization. It adds a solid sense of meritocracy to the company’s culture and encourages newcomers to give the best of themselves.

    I will download your eBook as I am very interested about the topics that you cover.

    Cheers 🙂

    1. Hi Arnaud,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found this ab insightful article.

      I appreciate you sharing your experience in the accountancy field because there will be many in the same field who will be able to relate to you and learn from you too.

      I hope you enjoy reading the eBook and I would love to hear your feedback.

      All the best,


  18. You touched in many interesting and complex points. But I want to focus on one of them, which I have seen so many times: People that are good on what they do but when promoted as leaders, managers they get lost. There are many reasons but most of the time is just because is not their thing. For me you can be leader without necessary being, officially, a manager or leader. We have plenty of those examples in every organisation. Whatever the case may be, I do agree with you, that to be leader you have to work with your team, have their confidence, be humble, lead by example. Always very good insights in your articles. Well-done and thank you for sharing your experience with us. Thanks.

    1. Hi TGP,

      Thank you for your comment. I am pleased that you found this article valuable, means a lot to me.

      You are right, people who are great at their job usually get promoted but they cannot do the role of the leader. The reason for this is usually not their fault. It is because they have not had leadership development at the right time, while they are still doing the job. We need to change that.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  19. Enjoyed your article, no question that confident and humble is the way to be when it comes to leadership. I have managed many teams and have been managed by many leaders also. I always strive to bring out the best in my team by leading by example and not dictating. Great stuff man. Cheers

    1. Hi Robb,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you enjoyed the article.

      I completely agree that you need to be confident and humble when it comes to your leadership. If we are not then we will come across as arrogant, and that will lose trust and weaken our relationships with our team.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  20. Hi Tom,

    Enjoyed reading your post. It certainly makes a lot of sense and I have personally seen this validated in my own work experience. Keep up the good work!


    1. Hi Alex,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased that this article resonated with you.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  21. Nice article Tom! I’ve read so many books, how-to’s and posts about effective leaders but rarely have I read one about the power of humility in leadership. Until now!

    Arrogance is destructive in every relationship, including in a manager-subordinate one. I’ve had arrogant leaders in the workplace before, and employees simply don’t perform their best.

    Thanks for the great read and keep up the inspiration!

    1. Hi Andrea,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you found this article valuable.

      I couldn’t agree with you more, arrogance is very destructive in relationships. It’s great that you an share your expereinces of working with arrogant leaders because it really does weaken the relationship and the amount of trust we have for the leader.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


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