A strong ego can get in the way of business and collaborative working. Here’s how you can steer clear of the God Complex. By Priya Prakasan
It often becomes easy for talented leaders to get blinded by their own ego. It is also one of the most challenging barriers a leader has to overcome. When you are at the top of an organisation, falling into an ego trap will result in employee disengagement, lower morale, and decreased motivation. Smart leaders always strike a perfect balance between confidence and humility. Here are some ways to keep your ego in check.
1. Increase your emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is a key component of effective leadership. It involves the ability to monitor your emotions and those of others to guide thinking and behaviour that can make you a smart leader. An-ego driven leader will not only have a hard time displaying empathy and thus connecting to people, but can also cause the downfall of a high-performing team. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence are more self-aware, they know how their actions can affect the people around them. They also regulate themselves effectively and steer clear of making emotional decisions or compromising on their values.
2. Be humble
When you are in a leadership position you need to have a clear understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, because your emotions as well as actions can affect your team. To be fully aware of your shortcoming you have to practice humility. A humble leader is secure enough to recognise his or her weaknesses and spread the credit when things go well. Great leaders understand that focus should be on how they can help bring out the best in others, not how to get others to serve them.
3. Find people who are willing to tell you the truth
One of the most effective ways to keep your ego in check is to have some truth tellers in your life. People who can honestly tell you when you are getting off base, not walking your talk, and when you are being inconsistent. You need a support group you can rely on to openly telling about your flaws and faults regardless of the circumstances or the power that you have as a leader. By accepting real-time feedback from the ‘truth tellers’ who give them candid critiques about their leadership, leaders can gain greater understanding of their leadership style.
4. Ask for feedback regularly
The most effective leaders seek feedback and inputs to enhance their performance, as it helps maximise their potential, raise their awareness of strengths and identify areas for improvement. It is difficult to be self-aware without feedback, so it becomes an important step to keep the ego in check. Ask for feedback on a regular basis, not just at review time, so that you can respond and tailor your behaviour accordingly. You can also gather it anonymously to show your team you are receptive.
5. Opt for collaboration more than competition
Collective impact is a growing trend and a diverse group of leaders today are embracing new ways of working together instead of the traditional ways. By encouraging and enabling collaborations, leaders can tap into the creativity of many smart employees working on the same problem to get an effective outcome. To achieve your goals you are going to need the cooperation and talents of other individuals, which is why a collaborative business environment will help your organisation succeed.
6. Listen attentively
Active listening is an oft-overlooked leadership tool and is challenging skill all leaders should master. To make sound decisions you need to first focus on internal listening, which is essentially focusing on your own thoughts and priorities. The next step is focused listening, which is mastering the skill of being able to focus on other people to connect fully with them and picking up the small nuances. Listening attentively to the viewpoints of others aids in critical business decisions.
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