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Promising Signs Your Ego is in the Right Place for Leadership

Source | LinkedIn : By John Eades

It has been present as long as I can remember.  As a 5-year-old playing sports, a 13-year-old running for class president, an 18-year-old deciding on colleges, a 23-year-old playing professional golf, a 28-year-old getting married, and now, as a 33-year-old leading a family and a company… “it” is always something I have battled.  Until recently (thanks Ryan Holiday), I didn’t know how or even why I needed to overcome “it”. By “it” I’m referring to the enemy that lives inside of all of us all – ego.

Ego is simply our own self-centered, self-serving, ambition. The desire to be more than, to be recognized for, or to be elevated above others.  I believe ego is a conflict all leaders face, yet don’t want talk about.

Most run away from the simple question, “Is this life you are living about yourself and your career or about other people and something much bigger than yourself?

Some choose to embrace their ego, make it a core part of their daily lives, pursue a life all about themselves all while acting like it’s not all about them (LIE). While other leaders make it their mission to attack their ego with a with relentless pursuit to ensure it has zero control over their actions and their focus remains on helping others.

The problem with ego as a leader is it’s “fake.” People see it through it, they know it’s ever-present, and either adjust their behavior to either take advantage of their leader’s ego or disengage and just do what they are told. Ego leads to poor business and life decisions focused solely on the individual and their desires.  It’s the opposite of how the great Jackie Robinson thought about leadership.

“A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives”- Jackie Robinson

Here’s the cool part: When you peel back the onion and remove ego from the equation you get real substance.  Things like humility, confidence and patience come to the forefront.  These are the qualities that sustain people, teams, organizations and families through good and bad times. Ultimately, when a leader decides to leave the ego behind and pursue a life focused on helping other people become the best version of themselves, they will be able to reach their own potential.

Once you understand the power of what it means to leave ego behind, it will make you a stronger and better leader. Here are few powerful signs your ego is in the right place for leadership.

You are focused on the process

As the great UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said, “It’s the details that are vital, little things make big things happen.”  You probably have your team focused on the actions that are going to make your team successful, not the end results.  Your team is locked in on leading KPI’s and working as a unit to execute the them to the best of your abilities without you at the forefront.

You work on the business, as much as in the business

In season 1 episode 10 of the Follow My Lead Podcast, David Hughes talked about the importance of “going off to the mountain.” You understand how important it is to “go off to the mountain” and taking a reflective look at business.  You do this quarterly to move the business forward, and put extra focus on improving culture, individual team member development, and business visions.


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