Leading Beyond Ego

I am researching the impact of ego on political leadership effectiveness. It has been interesting thus far.

Ego has been interpreted to mean many things:

  • A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance (Oxford)
  • The self especially as contrasted with another self or the world (Merriam-Webster)
  • The “I” or self of any person; A person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought (dictionary.com)
  • Your ego is your conscious mind, the part of your identity that you consider your “self.” (vocabulary.com)

Ego isn’t necessarily all bad. It is what raises your conscious awareness that you exist. Carl Jung believed that the ego represented thoughts, memories, and emotions that a person is consciously aware of. That the ego (this conscious thought) is mostly responsible for an individuals’ feeling of identity and continuity.

The ego thrives on identification and separation… what makes the “I” separate from others. This is where it gets tricky. The “I” cannot survive without comparing itself to others. And this is where the ego goes dark.

In today’s craze of social media, there is a boost to portray that which one is not. To be the better looking individual, the more popular individual, etc. To compare oneself to another, and then boost yourself to be the better individual is a dark side of ego. To believe that your opinion is better than all others, is ego.

This is where it impacts effective leadership. Take that a step further, into political leadership, and we can see how the ego persuades decision-making that impacts all. Decisions based around facts as we know them right now, are not ego. It slips into ego when you declare that this is the ONLY fact and that only YOU are right.

Do you see the difference?

Ego can, by all accounts, limit the ability to make effective decisions for the greatest good. Ego is placing the self before all others. Examples include:

  • Only I know what’s best
  • I make all the decisions
  • I am the smartest…

The need for power, money, and control are the ego gone dark. Where do you see examples of this thriving? How can we change that which we see?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Ego is an illusionary self. Start by becoming more aware of what you are placing “I” in front of. Awareness of self leads to awareness of ego in others. It opens a door to conversations. And it provides a greater opportunity to be more present with today.

Putting aside that ego and embracing honest authenticity with your inner beingness can help build trust with others through transparency, accountability, and hope. Transparency, mutual trust, shared objectives, and the welfare of others guides an entire community towards doing what is just and fair.

Want to talk more about the Ego? Contact me.

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