“Ego says, ‘Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.’ Spirit says, ‘Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.’” – Marianne Williamson
In last month’s blog, we examined why failure is a gift. Often, when we are successful and things are going well for us, we start to believe that we’ve perfected our job, tasks or relationships. This is our ego telling us that we have nothing new to learn or discover. This can lead to that dangerous “failure is not an option” mindset because we believe that failure is impossible.
Our ego feeds us toxic information that actually stunts growth and makes us ineffective leaders and employees. Oftentimes you confuse your ego for confidence, but the difference is that a confident person is comfortable admitting when they are wrong, when they have made a mistake or when it’s time to ask for help
What is your ego?
The ego is the part of your conscious mind where you identify what you consider your “self.” This is where the saying “he’s so full of himself” comes from. You’re saying that someone is self-absorbed. When you have a big ego, you think about your outer world through a selfish lens. While the ego might make you feel strong and powerful, it’s actually quite fragile. The ego often makes it difficult for you to accept criticism. Instead of listening to what the person is saying, you end up thinking about how this makes you feel. This can make you feel angry or frustrated, as you’re only seeing things from one perspective.
Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
The words “with humility comes wisdom” certainly reflect a more positive way of leading. While you might think that your ideal leader must be strong and stoic, there’s evidence that being humble is a desirable trait in today’s business world. A study from the University of South Australia Centre for Workplace Excellence proved that possessing more humility as a leader can lead to better outcomes for your team. “Researchers concluded that ‘leaders who demonstrate humility—through self-awareness, praising others’ strengths and contributions, and being open to feedback’—can achieve positive workplace outcomes and curb negative influences.”
Basically, when you’re guided by your ego, you’re viewing everything from a selfish perspective. When you let go of that and lead with humility, vulnerability and authenticity, you learn to ask questions, share ideas and collaborate. It’s a pretty powerful shift.
It doesn’t come easy. Squashing your ego is a daily practice. You let go of the negative feelings that are weighing you down and accept help from others when you need it. Many ineffective leaders believe that for something to be done right, you need to do it yourself. When in reality, you can get better results when you teach others and collaborate on projects. You will have to wake up every morning with this in mind.
For Jennifer Ménard-Shand and Alison Hernández, being good leaders is critical to their success, their team’s success and to Staff Shop Inc. overall. Setting their egos aside for the benefit of the company is an important practice.
“I struggled with ego and imposter syndrome (the perfectionist kind) for many years and once in a while it still rears its ugly head. In my early days, as the Star Sales Rep., I had trained myself to believe that failure was not an option. I was operating out of fear of failure because failure meant I may not survive or “make it” in this world. That led to phobias of failure, fight or flight episodes, and it painted an impossible image to keep up with. Through therapy, mentors and reconnecting with my faith, I was able to fight off those demons and I truly know what freedom feels like. More importantly, I can clear the path for others to succeed and lead.
I listened to a powerful podcast recently by Tony Chapman featuring Dr. Karyn Gordon (Canada’s Oprah) and what Dr. Gordon shares in this podcast, her TED Talk and Book are the foundation to leadership and living a life with peace at your core. It’s important to seek help and reconnect with our confidence. YOU ARE ENOUGH. We were not meant to walk alone with insecurities, and suffer in silence. We are designed with a deep purpose and our responsibility is to be comfortable with who we truly are, and share our gifts with the world. Ego never wins. Love, self-worth, forgiveness and a confident attitude are the ingredients to success and fulfillment.”
“For me as a business leader, I know that my ego can really get in the way of myself and my own career progression. I have a lot of responsibilities; I have a lot of things that fall into my realm at work, but if I am too proud or egotistical with others, I could get to a point where I cannot see my own opportunities anymore. So, we’ll set up “skip-level” meetings where, for example, the people who report to me directly will have a one-on-one with my boss to see ‘how’s Alison doing as a leader, are there any complaints that you have about her or any concerns about her management style?’ For someone with an ego, it would be really hard to allow those types of meetings to happen, but you can’t grow without them.
Jennifer is my business partner. She has things that she’s responsible for. I have things that I’m responsible for. She’s an expert in her realm. I’m an expert in my realm. But we can’t allow ourselves to be so proud of our own area that we can’t expose it to our partner to have them give their take on it. Even if it’s my realm of expertise, you have to know that you don’t know everything. Especially when you’re really entrenched in the work that you’re doing. You can’t see beyond what’s right in front of you. You have to be able to trust your partner to actually purposely try to find mistakes, faults, problems, issues and be open to hearing that. Otherwise, you’ll be stagnant and never move forward.”
Join Us or Hire Us
As always, we invite you to join us or hire us. We provide staffing and employment solutions for a variety of industries.
And if you’re interested in learning more about killing your ego for the greater good, Jennifer and Alison are always available to talk and share their experiences as business leaders. Contact us Today!
“Your ego is your greatest enemy.” – Unknown