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7 months ago

The Ego ContinuumSAMPLE

is how you feel about

is how you feel about you, and if you had a better day than the previous day. Realising and learning that is the first step to releasing the ego. Thinking back on that whole debacle now, I wonder why the manager hired me even though the team managers all said no. I believe she saw me as a strong leader, as someone who would be good for her team to learn from. She chalked it up to the fact that the other three managers were insecure about my level of confidence and strength. She just assumed that they felt threatened and that they used the fact that they didn’t think I’d be a good fit as an excuse not to hire me. Of course, my ego at the time accepted her rationale as fact; I wasn’t quite ready to take the plunge into true self-awareness. This was a prime example of not yet knowing what you don’t know. While I would like to think that she was right, in all honesty, I believe that she wasn’t always an active leader. I imagine she had the best intentions in wanting to bring me on because she was looking at it from a strategic perspective. She had six or seven direct reports and wanted someone external that offered strength. I think the others just saw my competitive narcissism, recognising that I wouldn’t make an excellent team leader. At the time, they were right. Since that first eye-opening experience I have spent decades working in leadership roles. I progressed with each new company I worked with, from team manager to manager, to director, to vice president, and finally to a consultant. My title, my level of responsibility and my realisation of how uninspiring upper management can be in so many companies advanced. With that, my sense of what shitty leadership looked and felt like also advanced. I saw it in myself, I felt it, and I lived it. I saw how it affected my team and peers. I knew things needed to change. 8 the ego continuum

Today, it’s rare that I go into a company and see inspiring leaders that are taking the time to focus on their staff. It is highly unusual to find a large business whose upper management demonstrates active leadership, who inspire specifically and set the tone for their employees to inspire themselves. I’ve witnessed misperceptions of ineffective communication, where leaders appeared to want to be more right than kind. They want to catch their staff doing something wrong, versus building their confidence by commending a particular improvement or a productive behaviour. In these businesses, self-righteousness appears as true narcissism, where a plethora of negative perceptions run amok as no-one communicates effectively, or from an authentic place. Most companies focus on the customer, and they forget about their employees. That can be a crucial mistake! If you focus on, embrace, and actively lead your employees, they will automatically provide better experiences. Your staff will feel motivated and inspired as a by-product of you providing sincere time and humility. They will come to work with a smile on their face because they feel valued and aligned. What happens to the customer when your employees feel like this? It sounds so good—do right for your staff, and you will compel them to do right for your clients. So why isn’t this infrastructure everywhere? Simply put, to devote funds and time into quality leadership is an investment for a lot of companies. Many businesses consider it as training, and it’s the first expense to go when recessions hit. Outside influences financially impact organisations—inflation, in the year of a presidential election, Brexit, disasters like 9/11 strike. Companies will make cuts, and training is often first to go. They consider training as a luxury and not a necessity. That’s just an epic fail. Changing how we lead is not ‘training’. Manifesting a culture of feedback is Introduction 9

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