At a first sight, having a strong ego may seem healthy and to be a guarantee of success of people at the leading positions. It predestines a person to attain great objectives and a success since it is ego that places us to reach our aims and great results. In reality it is like this at the beginning of the whole game.
Until our thirties, we work on building of our ego and after getting through past the age of thirty we do everything possible to loose it. Paradoxical….., right?
“Ego is, however, a killer of everything healthy and good.“
What we are exactly talking about here is a big and strong EGO, that is about ME, ME, ME and again ME. It usually points to people with a distorted view of the reality and the world around. Their life revolves uniquely around themselves. Very often they are led by unhealthy ideas about themselves. Studies prove that individuals with a strong ego are mostly fragile people in interior, who constantly long for fame and limelight? Running after a reward for anything and everything, even in cases when this has not been achieved by themselves. Naturally, in the phase of a company building might such a behavior have disastrous consequences.
In the “Egonomics“, a book written by David Marcum and Steven Smith, the authors label ego to be “an invisible item in the sheet of gains and loses of each company.“
So yes, ego has to be taken seriously. What are the weak sides of leaders with a strong ego?
- They never really listen
We have all been in the communication situations, whether it be in our working team, or in the personal life, when we are talking about a problematic and come up with a possible solution and the person opposite just jabbles the same all around. The person is not at all aware of the surroundings and does not remember anything of what was said. Some bosses are living in their own bubbles made from the ideas of their won reality, unreachable to anybody else.
- They don’t have tendency to take advice from anybody, they consult their decisions with nobody, tend not to listen to new ideas and creative visions and if yes, they make them their own.
- They refuse to communicate about the problematic.
According to Gustav Jung “Egocentric behavior a blown up consciousness hypnotized by oneself.“
- To be egocentric limits the capacity to listen to other arguments and concerns of other people, since the ego is concerned with itself.
- The result of the one-way communication direction is missing many potential opportunities which come about via open discussion in a team.
A true leader always listens and answers in right time.
- They always take a credit for everything good
A leader driven by EGO, takes the credit for everything. No matter who came up with the idea, this kind of boss walks into the reunion with a claim “I got a great idea.“ Nevertheless, with this idea came up John yesterday while talking to the boss, or Jane, a new team member. ….. because every single good idea must be his/hers.
The impact on the working environment:
- Repetition of this kind of situation leads a creative employee to scorn of injustice, later this can continue by loosing motivation, bad moral of a team and in the end by a notice from work
- Overall demotivation in the working environment
- Egocentric boss creates selfish environment which leads to circumscribed progress of the whole team.
“When we work on something valuable, we have to pull together and have in mind a common goal. Other way does not exist.“
A good leader leads his team right to the goal, by a mistake he/she takes up the responsibility and bears consequences. He/she does not let the team to grope in the dark, has the sense of responsibility. Not only for himself/herself, but for the whole team. He/she compliments generously and rewards employees. He/she supports employees with gestures, gives a supportive tap on the back, or gives an agreeable smile, gives a praise also publicly and with pleasure. He/she is not afraid of taking up the responsibility. A good leader is in close contact with an employee, a colleague, or a business partner. He/she speaks only when the right time comes.
- They do not accept mistakes
Egocentric leader ceaselessly doubts about himself/herself, is afraid of …about his person and is afraid of failing.
“Ego is very vulnerable and unstable, considers itself constantly in danger. By the way, this is even a case when the person looks very self-confident on the outside“, Eskhard Tolle, The power of the present moment
A protection by an artificial self-confidence and pride is to protect the egocentric person from a failure. It happens often that:
- They succumb to illusions and their own ideas about functioning which can lead them to wrong conclusions
- They are obsessed perfectionism, they refuse weaknesses and failures
- They refuse to ask for help
- They feel better when they can humiliate others and in this way upscale their own value.
- All of this however costs them an incredibly lot of effort and only so that they can confirm their own value
One does not born a good leader, one becomes a good leader based on the experience. I don’t know a successful person who would never fight with his/her ego. All of us have to learn and only then become a true leader. Some manage it earlier to get rid of the ego in the age of 25, some have to wait until their 30ties and some still coping with their failures in their 50ties which are caused by their egocentrism.
Admittance of one’s own mistake and taking a lesson from it, is not a shame, but a force. In the end, what is sympathetic to people is a natural behavior and spontaneity. To admit his/her own mistakes and to know his/hers weaknesses is very valuable.
- They give preference to status over service
An egocentric leader make decisions which cement his/her status and does not look for the good of the company. Service given is a mirror of the proprietor, the leader at the head of the company as well as the whole society.
- Leader makes decisions for the good of the company and not for enhancement of his/her own status
- An arrogant and mean boss while communicating with a paying client makes a bad name of the company
- That’s why, in order to maintain a good status of a responsible and dominant person, he/she sacrifices the service for customers which casts a bad light on the company.
“Business is never personal.“
- They underestimate problems
Ego often underestimate the size of the problem, since it doesn’t want to admit that it could have failed. Sometimes the problem with the ego is that it believed too much in itself. If you repeat something again and again, you just end by believing it. The reality is, however, that business is a dangerous field for people who cannot control their own ego and don’t understand their weaknesses as well as strong sides.
A good leader is not afraid of taking risks, does not give up and is not afraid of attacking the concurrence, but with a reason and sense and open-mindedness. He/she has a strategy at hand, takes advice, progress in a deliberate manner and makes sure that he/she is not blinded by him-/herself.
“The great ego naturally precedes the great fall.”
In business and management, we never avoid meeting the ego, and that’s great, because it forces us to work on ourselves, do a little tuning, or look the truth in the eye here and there and find that we have a bit of that egocentric person in us. It’s up to us how we work with it.
Egocentric bosses as well as leadership simply cannot be avoided, just as one cannot escape from one’s own ego. And that’s why life is so beautiful and at the same time “parodic”. Every single day we learn, every single day is a new beginning on how to work and manage situations, Le Globless.