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10 Practices of Humility for Egotistical Leaders

Ego knowingly whispers, “You are the center of the universe.”


6 Symptoms of egotistical leadership:

#1. Ego thinks “I” and “me”. Self-importance struggles to see life through the lens of others.

Ego asks, “How does this impact me?” Humility says, “How does this impact our team?”

#2. Ego can’t be wrong. Rather than explore ideas, egotistical leaders defend their own agenda.

The need to be right tends to make you wrong.

#3. Ego dismisses criticism and correction.

  1. “You don’t understand.”
  2. “You don’t see the big picture.”
  3. “You don’t appreciate the pressure I’m under.”

Ego takes offense. Humility explores correction.

#4. Ego seldom says, “Thank you.” Arrogance gives itself too much credit and gives others too little recognition.

Ego celebrates self. Humility honors others.

#5. Ego points the blame-finger when bad news lands on its desk.

When things go right, ego says, “I”. When things go wrong, ego says, “You”.

#6. Ego listens with a personal agenda. The ego-lens:

  1. What’s in it for me?
  2. How does this make me look?
  3. How can I use this for my advantage?
  4. Who can I blame?

Ego can’t truly listen.

10 practices of humility:

  1. Think, “You”. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
  2. Explore dis-confirming feedback.
  3. Write a thank you note to someone who contributed to your success.
  4. Recall someone who gave you a second chance.
  5. List three positive qualities of each team member in the meeting.
  6. Walk around looking for things to celebrate.
  7. Relax and ask questions when others talk.
  8. Monitor your use of “I” and “me”. Shift to “we” when appropriate.
  9. Say to yourself, “What if they’re right?”
  10. Focus on strengthening relationships, not just results.

Think of humility as a practice.

Tip: Resist the urge to think of others when reading this post.

Bonus 3:55 video: The World’s Top Leaders Practice Selfless Leadership

What does ego look like to you?

Which of the 10 practices of humility might you implement today?

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