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Egoless Leadership is a Myth

In a perfect world everyone serves from a heart of love. But, I see ego-centric motivations in my heart. What about you?

Egoless leadership is, at best, an aspiration.

You know you’re an ego-driven leader if:

  1. The time it takes to create alignment is burdensome and frustrating. People should just do what you say and like it.
  2. Self-interest drives you to shade the truth and agree when you don’t.
  3. You feel disregard for the little people. The people who matter are the ones who elevate your status.
  4. Nagging perceptions that you are smarter, better, and more deserving.
  5. Your way is the best way. Belief that you know best silences input from teams.
  6. Perks motivate you. You can’t wait to get your name on a parking space.
  7. Underlings are kept out of the process and in the dark. They don’t need to know.

Leaders lose when they use and abuse.

Egoless leadership, in my experience, is a myth.


There’s hope if signs of ego become cues to act otherwise.

7 ways to act otherwise:

  1. Say, “I could be wrong,” out loud and in public.
  2. Define success in terms of service. Turn toward others when ego drives you to serve yourself.
  3. Shift from frustration to openness with people.
  4. Practice speaking truth to power. You may need to start slow if self-protective speech is your pattern.
  5. Correct and confront for the benefit of others, not because it makes your life easier.
  6. Find a loyal friend and start talking about the issue of ego. But, remember it’s difficult to see yourself. If you think you don’t have ego issues, you do.
  7. Do something for someone who can’t pay you back.

Ego serves leaders well when self-interest drives service.

How are you spotting and dealing with ego-driven leadership?

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