It’s a quirk of life that one of the most dangerous words in the English lexicon sounds innocent- cute even. In fact, if your stretch your imagination a little, you could think the word ‘ego’ sounds like ‘panda’. And what on God’s green earth is cuter than little fluffy panda bears rolling on the grass?
Yes, we are talking about ‘ego’ here. Perhaps, it’s incorrect to call the word one of the most dangerous. After all, ego by itself isn’t necessarily bad. What makes it toxic is when it’s left unchecked. And that’s a phenomenon that happens even with ‘nice’ people who generally have a peaceful disposition.
This phenomenon is problematic in a larger societal context, not to mention in personal lives. However, this blog post is concerned with the problem that unchecked ego causes in organizations, in the context of a leader’s evolution.
Ego is often an entanglement you need to find a way out of
Ego and the problems it creates
Before getting any further, let it be said that this post works under a specific definition of ego: as a unified identity, the sense of ‘I’ that’s in everyone. This is as defined in the mind’s tripartite model by Sigmund Freud, which has the elements id, ego and superego, out of which ego is the “I”.
The reason this has to be made clear is that there are other definitions to the word that’s used in different contexts. For instance, the definition of ego as the narrating part of our consciousness which makes narrations about not just ourselves but others as well.
So, now that we have made out definition clear, let’s delve deeper into the problem that a leader’s unchecked ego causes in an organization.
There’s the obvious problem of “personality clash” that could happen with the swell of ego. If the leader tries to impose his or her views, driven by their ego on their subordinates, the resulting picture would inevitably be ugly.
But there is another dimension to it which is rarely discussed. The leader’s ego could inhibit two things- the progress of the self and also that of the organization.
Transcending ego with True Personal Vision
To understand how to transcend personal ego and work for the benefit of the organization and the self, it’s important to understand what True Personal Vision means.
True Personal Vision is the vision that resides in your own self. You could think of it as the two dimensional picture of the destination you should guide the organization towards. As the term makes clear, it is personal and therefore unique. Even more importantly, it cannot be replicated. This means, that a leader who has realized their vision has the advantage of taking the organization on a trajectory that none of your competition could move on. This in turn means that your competition gets diminished thanks to your vision.
So, what has this got to do with the problem of ego?
The answer is that with the realisation of True Personal Vision, the leader no more needs to be bogged down with the weight of their own ego when it comes to making decisions on behalf of the organization. Even if their ego interferes, telling them to do this or that, they could evaluate the ego’s ‘advice’ against their True Personal Vision. If the advice in question helps them get to that vision, it need be considered. Otherwise, you needn’t heed it.
Typically, when the ego gets spilled over- so to speak- the leader doesn’t have an alternative measure against which s/he could evaluate the ego-driven decisions. This means that the leader becomes a closed system- unwilling to listen to the opinion of his subordinates, which effectively curbs his evolution. Also, it pigeon-holes the organization in progress story that’s limited by the leader’s ego.
In other words, we are talking about the ego becoming a wall, which limits the progress of both the leader and the organization. Surely, such a double-threat shouldn’t be taken lightly? Surely, the realization of one’s vision then demands some urgency?
So then, how do you realize you True Personal vision which is lying quietly in your self, waiting for you to unlock your mind and set it free?
Temenos Vision Lab or TVL is a unique session developed by Temenos+Agility which helps you do just that. Developed based on 25 years of business consultancy experience, some of the best transformation coaches help guide you to your vision.