I’ve sat in board rooms and executive team meetings where the 800 lb gorilla in the room was the CEO’s ego. You’ve seen the situation: A head of a company or department that denies the reality of what is going on. “The turnover rate is up because recruiters are poaching us.” “Those aren’t the real numbers.” Or “We can’t give up on our core product – I won’t do it.” These types of excuses are often constructed by a weak executive that bullies those he is supposed to lead.
A CEO’s inflated ego prevents an organization from growing and worse yet can take a company with great potential and bring it to ruin. There are some signs when a “leader” is managing from the “self” first:
- Has allies in the company that will support false “facts”
- Punishes employees that attempt to look at the reality of the situation (what Jim Collins calls facing the “brutal facts”)
- Presents the organization to the outside world like it’s a winner (harder to do in a publicly traded company; privately held companies can hide more)
- Ignores facts and trends and insists on his/her own way
- Makes emotional decisions to protect his/her ego
- Shows no or short lived humility for the effect
- Expects others to accommodate their thinking and doing to what s/he thinks is the “right way”
- Doesn’t listen well and remains closed to feedback they don’t want to hear
- Has a false sense of invulnerability
- Embodies the old adage “it’s my way or the highway”
Don’t let your ego hinder your ability to effectively lead.