One characteristic that seems to be common to leaders who get the best from their teams is their apparent lack of ego. There are leaders who undoubtedly have giant-size egos, but don’t confuse showmanship and pizazz with egoism. There are many who play the showman but, underneath all the showbiz, they are focused on leading and promoting teams.
If you don’t watch out for the ego, it can trip you up.
Allow your ego to get in the way and you will claim more credit than is due to you. That in turn diminishes the efforts of the team and will be demotivating for them.
Your ego can also get in the way when you make a mistake. We all make mistakes – as the old saying goes, the person who never made a mistake never made anything – but your ego can prevent you from recognising a mistake. This can mean the consequences of the mistake become more serious: let’s say you took a wrong turn, but instead of realising the direction you had taken was wrong straight away, you continued down the wrong path, eventually seeing your mistake and having to retrace your steps a great distance.
That same ego will make the team hesitate to suggest you might be wrong!
The ego is also at work when things go wrong – it will be somebody else’s fault, not yours.
But what happens if you annihilate your ego?
You’ll praise the efforts of your team – not just to their faces, but publicly.
You’ll spot those mistakes faster.
Your team will find you more approachable and they’ll make more suggestions.
So how do you get started? Simply try saying ‘we’ and ‘us’ at every opportunity. Every time you say ‘I’ you’re in danger of letting the ego take over again. The only time you should use ‘I’ is when you’re taking the blame or assuming ownership of a mistake or failure.
The results will be noticeable: you’ll find that you get given more credit – both by your team and by your customers. You’ll be basking in reflected glory!