I always say that Leadership is an Attitude and Mindset not a role or title. However what happens when we step into a leadership role and our ego gets into the way. Have you seen this happen? While it takes a certain amount of ego to be a confident leader, how much is too much?
Ego refers to our sense of self. It is our self-knowledge, our acceptance of our abilities or lack of them, and the awareness of our place in the world and in our relationships. We all need ego to help us get through life.
The healthy ego.
When you have a healthy ego, you have a healthy self-respect which goes hand in hand with a respect and consideration for others, too. That is the key to developing great relationships with those around you and in your team.
What happens when your ego is not healthy?
There could be two scenarios here and neither of them make you an effective leader.
Leadership is not a popularity contest; it’s about leaving your ego at the door. The name of the game is to lead without a title. Robin S. Sharma
The poor ego.
If your ego is poorly developed, you are probably a leader in name only. Because you don’t have a core belief in yourself or your abilities, you will find it difficult to inspire others to follow you. You might find that you are sticking to your comfort zones and avoiding confrontation and personal development opportunities. If something goes wrong, you look for someone to blame or create excuses which exonerate you.
This is not the kind of ego that encourages openness and trust among the team.
The over-blow ego.
“Am I good or what? I am the greatest so you should all pay attention and just do things my way.”
If you have worked under a leader whose ego is in control of his brain, you will know how difficult it is to open their eyes to anything other than themselves. An overblown ego brings a sort of deafness and blindness to the leader where he or she can’t see the value in team member contributions.
The scent of team mutiny hangs in the air…
I really rebel against this idea that politics has to be a place full of ego and where you’re constantly focused on scoring hits against each one another. Yes, we need a robust democracy, but you can be strong, and you can be kind. Jacinda Ardern
While people often associate the word ego with big-headedness, it is actually a necessary part of our human makeup. If you are a leader, be sure to make peace with your ego so it helps you perform as the great leader you want to be.
Here are some great tips around dropping the Ego –
- Practice forgiveness & letting go.
- Practice honesty and being open.
- Surrender your need for control.
- Enjoy silent moments with yourself.
- Practice gratitude.
Learning to let go of your ego is very easy in theory, however can be very difficult to execute in the moment. When I think about times that I’ve been frustrated I always recognise a single thought that resonates in my head, “Drop your ego! You have nothing to lose here, but a whole life to win.
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Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.
For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader.
Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognised as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.
She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.
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