Hanging up your ego in order to empower others can be a challenge for a lot of reasons. When you’ve built something you’re proud of and make an effort to bring other people along, it can be easier said than done to remember that it’s not about you; it’s always about whom you’re serving.
We’re human beings, and it’s perfectly natural for our self-assurance to translate to a little bit of self-importance from time to time. In our leadership meetings, we actively and consciously make an effort to leave our ego at the door to focus on results together.
The Antidote to Leading with Ego
In order to be results-driven instead of ego-driven, we need to
1- Be aware of what’s going on within ourselves
2- Take action to get in front of our ego, so it’s not an obstacle
That takes two leadership qualities- emotional intelligence (EQ) and adaptability.
Having an inflated ego is really just a matter of having dressed up pain that hasn’t been resolved yet. And it happens to a lot of us when we are trying to protect ourselves from pain as we grow. Pain is necessary, and so we have to build stamina against our natural defenses that hold us back.
Emotional Intelligence Every Day
Beyond just checking our attitude, making sure we’re coming into a situation with an adjusted perspective takes work. And I’m talking about DAILY work. Building emotional intelligence doesn’t happen without putting in the work. And I for at least 20-30 minutes a day, we should take the time to work on mindfulness and reflection.
I recommend the Headspace app to those of us looking to develop some healthy mental habits. Mental health is a high priority at EPM, and that’s because it builds inner strength and a deeper understanding of how we serve others through prioritizing wellness within ourselves.
It’s always about the betterment of the good, and that starts with self improvement. The more practice we get with building emotional intelligence and resilience, the less our ego gets in the way of growth.
Adaptability over Ego
Adaptability is also strengthened when we take the time to work on ourselves. It’s true, success is not about you, but it starts with how we approach situations. It starts with being flexible and facing conflict instead of being rigid and shutting it down.
Building adaptability also helps us hear when our ego is coming out and be cognizant of how we proceed. The more we work on personal growth, the more we know when our defense mechanisms are getting in the way.
And when they do, we just need to own it! We don’t have to be perfect to empower others. And we will have stronger relationships with the people we serve when we can hold our bullshit and move forward. The worst thing is when we double down and come up with alibis and excuses for why we let our ego take over.
Empowering People More
If we take accountability when we are leading with ego- people will let it go. If we dig in our heels to protect ourselves from conflict and pain, we inhibit our own growth and the organization’s growth. It’s only as big an obstacle as you let it be.
When we build EQ and adaptability through practice every day— when we’re self-aware enough to engage with a positive attitude without running from conflict— we’ll recognize much sooner when our inflated ego’s start sending a smoke signal. We’ll have the skills to address it, sit with it for a minute, and shift the focus to the growth of the team, the organization, and the industry. We’re almost always in a better position when we choose to lift others over protecting ourselves.