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  • Teresa Carey

Blinded By Your Own Light

An entrepreneurial leader’s journey takes countless turns along the path to rapid growth and greatness. Starting and building an organization, while keeping all the crystal balls in the air, can be overwhelming. Countless hours of sacrifice and sweat equity take leading roles long before the plot of success unfolds in the leader’s story.

When it all collides, a level of attainment often simply proclaimed as, “I made it!” is evident. At this defining moment, two typological options are revealed in a leader – humility or ego. While some may argue there’s no room on the stage for ego, it’s the finessed balance between the two that determines the leader’s brand and impact on others.

Think of the leaders you know who walk the tightrope gracefully between ego and healthy confidence. They have a strong and steady presence, yet they aren’t overpowering. While maintaining their position, they cede to their team members in all the right ways at the right times, optimizing the potential of the entire organization – apart from themselves.

Is it time for an ego reality check? When you see the dichotomies below, which ones typically describe your approach?

Remember, ego is the great enabler to blind spots. To get the most thorough check up on your ego balance, try the following:

  1. For each of the areas you identified within the chart above, use your think time to reflect on at least three behavioral examples to support your self-perception. Where there is more ego involved, assess how you might manage related situations differently in the future.

  2. Enlist your stakeholders to give you examples of when you could have done better in the ego examples you identified. What other examples do they recall as areas of leadership or ego? Ask them to be your accountability partner in future situations.

  3. Notice how any of your CliftonStrengths™ may amplify your ego if left unchecked. Does Significance want credit? How might Self-Assurance or Command err into overconfidence and control? Are WOO and Communication interfering with listening?

When your light is too bright, it overshadows the light in others. Putting ego aside ensures team members can shine and drive their sustained engagement. Only then can continued scale and success perpetuate the growth a leader worked so hard to originally achieve.

“Feeding the ego is starving the wisdom. The choice is yours.” Efrat Cybulkiewicz

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