Leadership and the Ego

May 28, 2019 | Executive Coaching

The work I do as a Leadership coach has a stark difference to the usual training given in our culture.

The essential difference to the teaching and coaching that I offer to leaders and managers is a foundational understanding, which is not addressed in regular leadership and management training.  Yet this understanding is what drives the behaviour that we are teaching leaders and managers that they ought to be doing.

The traditional approach is to observe managers and leaders who are good at what they do and look for the behaviours they are doing, which can be considered best practice.  These behaviours are then made into training programmes and taught to future leaders and managers.  The expectation is that all these new managers need to do is follow these patterns, and they’ll get the same results.  However, have you ever experienced knowing that an alternative behaviour is more desirable than the one you are acting out, yet still continuing on your path anyway?  You see, knowing the behaviour isn’t the only thing that’s important.  It is important, but the understanding that drives the behaviour has to come first, otherwise, no amount of learning will create a lasting habit.

With regard to leadership and management, the foundational understanding we are referring to is an awareness of Ego and the role it plays in human behaviour.  Both for those in the management position, and the teams they are looking to lead.  The behaviour of someone who’s prime behaviour (because this is what has been conditioned since birth) is to protect and promote the ego, in whatever way makes sense to them, isn’t really behaviour that is compatible with being a good leader or manager.   

Let’s be clear here though.  I’m not only referring to people who appear arrogant.  Everyone has an Ego.  The Ego is the character with which they identify and they want to see that character do well.  “Doing well” can mean all sorts of different things to different people.  It might mean getting another promotion, being liked, being “right”, feeling good enough. Imagine a leader for whom being liked is the most important thing.  You can see that they may avoid addressing difficult situations.  Imagine one for whom being right is the most important thing and you can see that they may be less likely to empower others to come up with solutions or listen to alternative perspectives.

Now imagine a leader for whom it comes naturally to consider what is best for the whole, and to see the individuals in that whole as an intrinsic part of themselves. That person is going to work collaboratively, in an empowering way, not afraid to admit mistakes or promote others.  Not afraid to have difficult conversations when things aren’t working for the whole but will be sensitive about it too. 

This can come naturally to anyone who has opened their eyes to a different understanding, realising that meeting the needs of the ego is not the answer to lasting peace and happiness.  This is what I teach.  I do work on the strategic stuff too, but without this foundational understanding that would be a wasted effort.

Want to know more about how I can help? Drop me a line or give me a call. A successful coaching relationship depends upon a great rapport, so it’s important to talk. I want to get to know you, see inside your world and we can assess how we’d go from there!