Why leaders need to put their egos aside

As a leader, when you don’t let your ego get in the way of your ambitions you are able to learn more and lead better. You learn more because you know that you aren’t always right and you realise there are always opportunities to push the boundaries of what is possible. When you fight your ego, you remain a student and will constantly absorb new knowledge that enhances your decision making abilities.

Don’t let your ego get out of control

The best leaders are typically somewhat intense and straightforward - it’s likely how they got to the point that they are at in their career. However, they also likely got to the position that they are in by reducing the amount that their ego influenced their decision making. By reducing the level of ego involved in decision making, you are able to develop patience, selflessness, and consider other people's feelings.

When you are patient and able to consider the feelings of others, you are able to listen and make decisions with other people. When you listen, it enhances your leadership abilities because people know that what they’re saying to you is being thoughtfully and gratefully considered. Your employees will know that you are genuinely thankful that they are part of your organisation.

If you are struggling with listening to the people around you, ask yourself, “Is my ego getting out of control?” When you’ve asked yourself this, you should consider the question by asking yourself more questions to consider the impact that your ego may be having on your business. Ask yourself follow up questions such as:

  • Do I feel like nobody else can do things as well as me?
  • Is it my way or the highway most of the time?
  • Do I want to replace people who aren’t doing things exactly my way?

If you often find yourself thinking like this as a leader, you’re developing an unhealthy ego that is unintentionally damaging your business. Great leaders don’t succumb to this. They know that keeping their ego in check is one of the most important leadership tools.

When you facilitate teamwork, you are more likely to make it to the top of your organisation and industry.

Alpha leaders often don’t make it to the top

Alpha leaders who have an intense tenacity often fail to make it to the top. This is caused by them failing to connect with the people around them because they are overly focused on themselves. Alpha leaders who are too obsessed with themselves fail to have conversations that don’t revolve around them.

When every conversation is a “me” or “I” conversation, the opportunity to be a fantastic leader is missed. You fail to think about the feelings of others, people start to get intimidated by you, and ultimately, you alienate your team.

When your conversations are “we” and “us” oriented, a team becomes inspired and encouraged to do great work, together. This leads to brilliant teamwork and a strong company. When you facilitate teamwork, you are more likely to make it to the top of your organisation and industry.

Author Ryan Holiday summarises the notion that the best leaders don’t let their egos get in the way very well in his book Ego is the Enemy: “Ego is the enemy of what you want and of what you have: Of mastering a craft. Of real creative insight. Of working well with others. Of building loyalty and support. Of longevity. Of repeating and retaining your success. It repulses advantages and opportunities. It’s a magnet for enemies and errors. It is Scylla and Charybdis.”

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.


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