Ego killing good leadership?

Jan 9, 2021
Frieda Janssens

How your ego determines your leadershipskills

Do you, as a leader, ever get to hear that you have a big ego? Many leaders experiences that. Accusations about your ego usually happen when your decisions are not appreciated by employees or externals. They think these decisions serve your own interest only.

Feel free to call ego the biggest trap for good leadership. Whether your ego is actually the killer for good leadership depends on your self-image. Let's dive deeper!

What is 'ego'?

Ego is the image we have of ourselves. It is what we think we are. Herein lies the first misconception: it is not necessarily what we truly are, but what we think we are.

The image we have of ourselves is created in our brains during our upbringing. It has a conditioning effect: the more often you are told that you are doing well, the stronger your ego becomes. The opposite counts. as well But our ego also makes us unconsciously behave in a way that makes us feel positive. This is not a resistance on our part, our brains are programmed in this way.

Think of someone who loses in a parlour game and says he 'let the others win'. In this way he or she unconsciously turns the negative experience into a feeling of superiority or compassion. Or when you label your colleague as an autistic person because his workplace is very tidy while you prefer 'order in disorder'. In your eyes you are the 'normal' and your colleague the 'abnormal' one.

3 ego issues endangering your leadership

You don't have enoughThe perception that you don't have enough financially or physically makes you make decisions that can harm others.

You don't belong.  That makes you behave different from what you are. For many executives, the paradox between being loved on the one hand and making unpopular decisions on the other is difficult to bear. 

You're not allowed to make mistakes.  Your inner critic says you should do nothing wrong and be better than others. It makes you try too hard to get the best out of yourself and maybe you put mistakes in other people's shoes.

Do you recognise yourself in this? Then you will have difficulty in sharing your vulnerability and you will strongly condemn others 'who are better off'. This blog post about vulnerability in leadership is full of answers for you. Definitely worth looking at, leader!

Awareness as a solution to your ego issues

By acknowledging how you behave as a person or leader and what the impact of your actions is on others, you can detach yourself more easily from your ego, lead more consciously and live more authentically. So, how do you do that?

Here and now we are starting the process of becoming a self-confident leader together with you. 👇

Your 'to do' from now on: reflect and write down feelings

Take a moment every night te reflect on a difficult situation you faced, and write down your feelings:  

  • What is the 'pure' fact and how do you interpret it? What's your story?
  • If there were other explanations for this situation, what would they be?
  • What part of the given situation are you struggling with?
  • What makes you anxious or worried?
  • What would happen if you chose to accept that you were affected? Would that make you feel lighter?

Leaders who are at peace with their faults are more likely to develop themselves. After all, those who are comfortable with themselves and do not have to constantly force themselves, are able to leave their comfort zone quicker. Although vulnerability feels difficult, scary and dangerous, it also creates a deeper connection with the environment. This is the only way to grow.

Be guided and become the leader you long to be.

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