In this TEDxTalk from Bob Davies we hear that ‘The rarest commodity is leadership without ego’. Bob Davies tells us ego free leadership gives the power back to the people. To complement this I want to share with you why ego free leadership is a rare commodity.
What is Ego?
We all develop ego during the terrible twos when we are trying to make Mum or Dad give us
Like most parents I stumbled through this period of time. I remember accepting or should I say resigning myself to my children’s power play of Want. So what happens when we become adults?
This description of ego summarises it nicely. Ego believes in scarcity, zero-sum games, limited resources or time to fulfil its wants. We are primed at school, work and in sports for competition. Ego is wrapped up in the day to day gratification meeting personal survival, relationship and self-esteem needs rather than focusing on the long term for the common good. We learn on TV that success = celebrity status, power or material and financial wealth. All relate to personal Wants.
Why do leaders lead with ego?
The current recruitment and promotions system is based around the power of past performance, not the power of future potential. Psylutions Research identified in 2013 that very few people are promoted because of their potential. Past performance is driven by many motivations including status, power, ambition, self-esteem, wealth or even greed etc. As people are moving up the organisational hierarchy they take along the beliefs that helped them get there. What was useful in the past is maintained in the present. So leaders use the same ego driven methods even thought ‘they made it’.
Leading without ego means giving up personal gratification as the prime motive. Giving up something is hard. It means letting go and change.
Why don’t leaders change?
There are several reasons for this:
1. Why change what served so well throughout the career?
2. Leaders need the ability to see that these attributes and beliefs no longer serve them.
3. Seeing what we belief is easier than believing what we see! The latter means a long hard look into the mirror.
4. Looking at yourself in a critical way needs overcoming the ego in the first place. It takes courage.
Courage versus Power
- Courage means to ask for help. But asking for help tells others that you don’t know everything; that you don’t have the solution. You have to give up power!
- Courage means to look at the idiocies built into a system and remove them even if they were built by you. That means admitting that you or your role models were wrong. Perceived failure is not fit for the power of performance.
- Courage means to do worthwhile things no-one else would do. Burst social norms and take the risks associated with it.
- Your conviction means you change the power symbols e.g. remove the directors’ car parking spots or change the square power meeting table where you sit at the head to a round one where everyone is equal.
Conscious Leadership is learning about leadership without ego. Join us at our launch where we introduce Conscious Leadership in a practical and interactive way. Places are limited so don’t forget to book your place at the relevant location.