Leaders by nature tend to have high ego strength. Ego can aid in self-confidence and perseverance and both can be tremendous aids to leadership success. But there is a down-side to high ego-strength that leaders sometimes don’t recognize until it’s too late.
Effective leaders keep their ego in check regularly to ensure that they can lead and influence successfully.
Leaders who allow their egos to get out of control are not admired, respected, nor trusted by many. Over the years of interfacing with many leaders and teams I have seen egos get in the way of effective leadership. I have also seen previously effective leaders fail when their egos become much bigger than their other leadership capabilities.
The two main ego barriers that prevent leaders from leading successfully are:
1. An inability to be introspective
A leader with an out of control ego lacks the ability to really see their flaws or opportunities that exist in each of us to grow. This weakness results in really bad behaviors – from blaming others for their performance or mistakes, attacking and defensive tactics and a complete lack of reality.
2. An over inflated perception of self-worth
Leaders who have an over inflated perception that they are better than anyone else have lost perspective. This behavior really stems from a complete lack of self-esteem and self-confidence. Unfortunately leaders who suffer from this are either in denial or believe they really can pull this off – which they can’t.
Sometimes it takes just one event to force you to check your ego and recognize your vulnerability. If you’re truly checking your ego this event can humble you instantly and you have a great opportunity to turn things around and become the great leader you can be. But sometimes, unfortunately the ego has been so overinflated for so long, there is no ego check. The energy that could be used to regroup and move forward is spent on blaming others or self-justifying.
So, if you’re reading this make sure to check your ego at the door.