LEADERS CONTROL THEIR EGOS 2023-09-05T00:32:22-04:00


Several weeks ago a good friend co-facilitated a conference session at his company’s fiscal year kick-off event. Having organized and implemented conferences for 32 years at Georgetown Law, I am familiar with the responsibilities and potential nerves presenters face when facing audiences of professionals – especially colleagues with expectations – at large conferences.

What I was not familiar with was presenting – or in this case co-presenting – in front of 1,000 people. My friend told me that he and his co-presenter were asked to make the 90-minute session interactive. Planning and conducting an interactive training session for 1000 people? Not so easy.

Nevertheless, my friend told me that they did very well. They used humor, facts, creativity and experience to make the session both fun and instructive for their audience. I can vouch for that because my friend was kind enough to send me the video of the session so I could watch it myself. Both he and his co-presenter received many plaudits for their efforts throughout that day, that evening, the next day and even when they arrived back in their home city.

My friend’s comment to me after receiving all this wonderful feedback: “I have to say. I had a hard time not letting my ego run away and take over.”

Ah, that word: ego. It can be a leader’s best friend or our worst enemy We all need a healthy ego to serve as effective leaders. However, if we allow our ego to run amok among our colleagues and direct reports, we can erect barriers to meaningful leadership.

How can we manage to control our egos so we will continue to serve others on our leadership paths? Here are a few suggestions for your consideration:

1. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes – to do so, first take off your own shoes
2. Do something nice for a direct report for no special reason
3. Let other people talk and make sure you talk last
4. Compliment someone on your team each day
5. Minimize your use of the word “I” and maximize the use of the word “we”
6. Practice letting go of something you have been holding onto for too long
7. Stop being fearful of looking silly or not having all the answers
8. Don’t compare yourself to others
9. Always maintain a learning mindset
10. Surrender your need for control
11. Don’t be addicted to approval
12. Let go of anger
13. Spend time alone in reflection or meditation
14. Work on enhancing your emotional bank account with colleagues – that account represents the level of trust in a relationship between two people
15. Show vulnerability and realize it is a leadership strength

Ego can be a great ally and it can also be a significant weakness. Let your ego serve you and strive to make sure it does not detract from your leadership strengths.

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