By Neal Burgis, PhD
Your ego is a powerful tool and if used right will help you have the level of confidence you need. Ego is a Latin word that means “I myself. All mindsets feed the ego, recognizes how to play to their strengths and identify the gaps to help you close them for greater effectiveness & confidence. Ego refers to a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. For the small business owner, a certain amount of ego is good. It’s when the ego gets over inflated that problems occur.
You don’t always have to be right on everything you do and or say. In reality you need a certain amount of ego as a leader to achieve, to innovate, and to have the courage to try something new. Ego-driven leaders are toxic to the organization you lead. The ego a leader has can bring down a business just like when there is a lack of customers. The difference is when the reputation of the business an ego-driven leader leads can have many or most people not applying for a job there. Nothing can be more debilitating in an organization than a leader with an ego. They are entitled and important simply because they want to be. Egotists regard themselves as superior, set apart from everyone else.
Don’t Let Your Ego Hijack Your Leadership Effectiveness
“Always remember: Too much ego will kill your talent.” – Unknown Author
Ego is one of the biggest problems that humanity faces. Being egoless is impossible.
Overactive ego gives people a distorted image of your importance. When this happens, you see yourself as the center of the world around you. You begin to put your own agenda, status and gratification ahead of anyone else around you.
Characteristics of Ego-Driven Leaders
Ego-driven leaders tend to…
• Measure success by how much others notice your success.
• Often feel better about yourself when others around you don’t achieve their goals.
• Undermine others so you can appear smarter, more competent and more knowledgeable than they.
• Drive others away over time.
• Destroy trust and attempt to control others through anyway possible.
• Are always looking for praise to be in the spotlight
• Does not reflect on personal shortcomings because it would interfere with their need to feel superior. Their blind spots go unaddressed, and eventually people stop bringing them up.
• Not listen to other points of view.
• Takes on daunting tasks without preparation or the ability to solve them, because they see them as less threatening than they really are.
• Be motivated by status, not service (leadership)
• Have a desire to always be right every single time.
• Be easily offended and quick to defend yourself sometimes using any excuse you think works for you.
• Rarely, if at all, admit your fault without rationalizing or blaming others. Using such statements as “It’s my way or the highway”, “I don’t need to adjust to people, they need to adjust to me”, or “No one else can fix this but me”, and or “I know more than anyone else in how to solve the situation.”
You are Losing Business Clients and Customers and Not Knowing Why
“When your ego may be in charge, everything becomes a little bit more about “you” and a little bit less about others.” – Christopher Pinckley
Can you admit to making a bad decision? You make decisions every day about everything you do, yet you have to live with them. You can change them. Typically, people do not like people with huge egos. Knowing that ego-driven people won’t listen to them and thinking you are always right. Clients and customers believe ego-driven people are not customer-focused especially on their needs but on the needs of the ego-driven person.
Blaming others for your decisions does not bode well with your employees. Admitting to making a bad decision is not in the nature of an ego-driven person. Business owners or leaders usually don’t think you need help. The problem is that you may know your business well, yet the way specific things work within your business you may not be totally aware of. This is when asking employees how they see things working help you in generating thoughts and ideas that can re-work the business for up-to-date trends.
You Have a Lot of Employee Turnover
You think you just need to hire the right talent instead of throwing more money at your employees to motivate them or to hire people who question things you do. Employees and prospective employees stay away from your organization because they want to work in an open-culture environment.
You are Never Satisfied with the Work of Others
You have difficulty praising employees or other executives. Putting people down as in blaming them for things you created does not sit well for most people, so they leave. Instead of looking for mistake’s employees make you place blame on them as specific ideas were not yours.
Recalibrate your ego since humility means recognizing that the work is not all about you. Recognizing how well your employees complete a project can be praised. Few ego driven leaders will do this as you expect employees to be doing their work and nothing more.
The leader that is acting out of self-doubt looks for reassurance from others in a more powerful position. They rarely make decisions on their own. They are not helpful to turn to in times of need and will generally avoid conflict of any kind.
The leader that is acting out of false pride is afraid to lose control. They tend to micromanage everything and everyone and their ideas are always the right ones. When they are wrong, they are usually the first to lay the blame on others.
Recognize Your Own Strengths and Limitations
“When you allow your ego to control your thoughts, everything you believe becomes an illusion.” – Rusty Eric
Your leadership effectiveness is primarily based on how you see yourself. Having a high self-esteem or self-confidence is great. Going beyond this to think of yourself as always winning and never seeing yourself failing or losing under any circumstance needs you to come back to earth. Being so high and mighty when things around you are in a crisis, your ego will be in control Lashing out at people and blaming them for things they did not cause can suddenly leave in in the lurch to fill their vacant positions.
Dana Ardi, Ph.D., –“If you ask most people to describe how a great leader looks and acts, you’ll often get answers that refer to generals and military commanders, or presidents and heads of state. In other words, we tend to think of leaders as those who rise to the top of the hierarchical pyramid – those who display charisma, a “take charge” attitude, and the self-confidence to issue commands from above.”
Egotism in Leadership can be Countered
It takes a deliberate effort on the part of leaders to refocus and see things from a wider view. A key practice is to recognize the viewpoints of others. Many time’s one’s weaknesses are just the flip-side of your strengths.
Find a conscious balance between:
• Strengths and weaknesses
• Ambition and caution
• Confidence and doubt
• Foresight and hindsight
• Boldness and accountability
• Inspiration and being grounded
• Personal needs and the needs of others
“Don’t let your ego get too close to your position, so that if your position gets shot down, your ego doesn’t go with it.” – Colin Powell
If you have an ego-driven way of doing things and you are ready to change for the better- greater productivity, greater performance, keeping talented employees and attracting and retaining business, contact me at email@example.com Let’s get to work for the betterment of you and your company.