Sector News

A Leader's best friend: the Chief Ego Deflator

October 6, 2015
Borderless Leadership

Few things are as damaging to a leader as an oversized ego. Left unchecked, a big ego can lead to arrogance and the leader starts to assume that his or her judgment, creativity and intelligence trumps everyone else’s. A big-ego leader can quickly become dismissive, irritable, or worse, tyrannical. When a leader’s ego is pleased only by getting its way, and when follower’s actions are geared toward avoiding the leader’s displeasure, a leader’s success is doomed.

To be clear, people want to follow a leader who is confident, strong and resolved. A healthy ego is, in fact, necessary for leading effectively. But there’s a difference between a healthy ego and an oversized one. The difference hinges on humility. A healthy ego recognizes that it exists in relation to the egos of others, and it isn’t threatened when those egos are healthy too. A healthy ego recognizes its own imperfections and limitations, and it doesn’t hold others to a standard of perfection either. A healthy ego is humble enough to know that it isn’t the center of the world.

The challenge is, a healthy ego can slip into an unhealthy one. Usually this happens after a leader has had a series of successes and he becomes overly confident and assured. He may start to place bigger bets, assert bolder opinions, and walk with more swagger. His successes have become “proof” that he is just a little bit better and more important than everyone else. Before long, the leader has become untethered from the grounding effects of humility.

To prevent ego inflation, every leader needs to have a Chief Ego Deflator. Every leader needs at least one person who can hold up a mirror to a leader so he can see when his head is getting too big. Often times this role is best served by someone who knew the leader before he became a leader, such as a spouse, childhood friend or college classmate. What matters most is that the role be filled by someone who can call bullshit on a leader without having to worry that the leader will punish them. In other words, it needs to be someone who can “get through” to the leader, and puncture the leader’s ego enough that some of the hot air will be released.

Are you a leader? Do you and the people you’re leading a favor, appoint a Chief Ego Deflator to keep your ego in check.

By Bill Treasurer

Source: Huffington Post

comments closed

Related News

February 4, 2023

What job seekers wish employers knew

Borderless Leadership

From August through October 2022, BCG and The Network, a global alliance of recruitment websites, undertook the world’s largest survey dedicated to exploring job seekers’ recruitment preferences—more than 90,000 people participated. This article reports and interprets additional survey findings and offers recruitment recommendations for employers.

January 29, 2023

The elements of good judgment

Borderless Leadership

Author believes that a more precise understanding of what exactly gives someone good judgment may make it possible for people to learn and improve on it. He interviewed CEOs at a range of companies, along with leaders in various professions. As a result, he has identified six key elements that collectively constitute good judgment: learning, trust, experience, detachment, options, and delivery.

January 22, 2023

Negotiating terms with a new employer

Borderless Leadership

Hiring has exceeded pre-pandemic levels in many markets and the shortage of skilled executives has put pressure in the increasing competition for top talents. If you have specialized and high-demand skills, for example on ESG, sustainability or bio-research, and a solid record of experience, you are well positioned to negotiate your salary.

How can we help you?

We're easy to reach