Leaders with big egos not only affect the people they work with, but the whole organization suffers. The larger the ego, the smaller the ability to be open to other viewpoints. This disinterest in varying perspectives impedes constructive conversation. A large ego makes it difficult for a leader to accept or learn from feedback, and it doesn’t take long for feedback to be stifled altogether. A distorted take on reality leads to the egotist’s overconfidence in tackling major challenges.
The effects of leaders with big egos cause great pain throughout the organization. Here’s what you’ll notice about an egotistical leader:
- Only hears what they want to hear, creating blindness to truth. They surround themselves with “yes-men” who outwardly resonate with the leader. The real issues aren’t evaluated and thus strategies are misguided.
- Indecisiveness, because they believe that action is not required as threats are downplayed or dismissed.
- Underestimates challenges due to lack of understanding. The problems grow worse and merge into higher categories of trouble.
- Takes on daunting tasks without preparation or the ability to solve them, because they see them as less threatening than they really are.
- Does not relate to the needs of the other people, and doesn’t bother to motivate, teach, or lead them. They don’t prioritize the people who do the work and engage with customers.
- Acts persecuted or rejected when people disagree or leave the organization.
- Does not reflect on personal shortcomings because it would interfere with their need to feel superior. Their blind spots go unaddressed, and eventually people stop bringing them up.
- Does not see available opportunities for the organization because of an internal focus on their own needs. It’s not difficult to grasp that these symptoms of leadership ego eventually lead to overriding problems that can be difficult to reverse. Teamwork and loyalty are compromised. Creativity, learning, and growth are significantly limited. Opportunities and expectations are missed. Customer retention is jeopardized. Employee turnover rises and the prospects for success fall.
In my next post, I’ll address how to tame the ego. In the meantime, please share your experiences of when ego got in the way. I can be reached here and on LinkedIn.