Getting the truth from others when you are in a position of power is tough. It's a tale as old as The Emperor's New Clothes: No one wanted to tell the emperor he was naked and no one wants to tell the CEO he might be wrong. Whatever the nature of the feedback for the leader, if it's not purely positive, colleagues, employees, and peers may hesitate to offer it. That lack of candor can quickly lead to trouble: today, tomorrow, or in a few months' time.
Ego refers to that part of you that is concerned with the self. When properly balanced with EQ, ego can be an important pillar to success (in the form of self-confidence, assuredness, conviction, clear decision-making and more). Too often, however, we see the kind of ego that involves being overly concerned with oneself, to the exclusion
of others - something we may be oblivious to even when we have the most noble of intentions. This kind of ego, though sometimes helpful in climbing to the top, once there can be a hindrance, ultimately sabotaging success.
When a person is operating out of too much ego and not enough EQ, he or she can appear egotistical, having self-involved behaviors and comments that appear as narrow in perspective. We can learn something, too, by looking at the synonyms for egotistical, including arrogant, smug, conceited, self-centered, selfish, and narcissistic. Those are all extreme adjectives, but you start to get the picture when reading them. Too much ego isn't pretty and it isn't good for the organization.
The key, of course, is to become even better at what you already do, by identifying your personal blind spots and by using the power of EQ to overcome them. I call it Ego vs. EQ: that dance between ego and emotional intelligence, that ever-important balancing act between self-confidence, outer strength, and superior technical expertise that helped you climb to your position today and the seemingly softer, more interior qualities of reflection, consideration, and connection that will ensure you stay there.
Successful leaders know how to balance their ego with a sharp EQ - awareness of the emotional context in which business takes place and an ability to respond to that context. With help and keen new awareness, you can, too by helping you overcome your own ego blind spots with the engine of strong emotional intelligence powering you.
Over the next few months we will be exploring some common ego traps, ways to self-diagnose to know if you have fallen into them, and provide some tips on how to overcome them using your EQ.