The chapter in my book Leading With Wisdom: Sage Advice from 100 Experts that has received the most attention is “Leaders Don’t Let Ego Win.” I have been asked to give several keynote talks focused on this chapter. The basic message is this:
The ego wants to protect us–even when we are wrong. So we need to be aware when the ego is getting out of control. How do we know? When out of control, the ego manifests as greed, jealousy, envy, micro-managing, overly controlling, defensiveness … and the list goes on. These feelings are human nature, but we need to manage them and we can only do that if we are aware of them.
When these feelings start emerging and we notice them, we need to acknowledge them and then LET THEM GO.
One way to let go is to have a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity. Another way to let go is to lift others up. I try to do this by nominating others for awards. When they receive recognition, I feel as if I win too. I recently nominated two leaders in Des Moines and they were two of the seven who will be acknowledged in November. More about this later.
I often say if you are feeling down, sad, frustrated, or slighted, go do something for someone else. As a Hospice volunteer, I have not experienced gratitude as I do when I sit with patients who know the end is near and they appreciate having someone with whom to talk or just be in their presence so they are not alone.
How not to let ego win?
- AWARENESS: Recognize when negative feelings start emerging.
- LET GO: Find ways to celebrate others and not focus on self.
- MINDSET: Develop a mindset of abundance. There is plenty to go around!
How do you manage your ego so that it does not get out of control?