I recently came across someone in power who had an overblown ego. I felt pity for the person as I saw them destroy their own image by displaying their conceited personality. When I heard the person speak, their words had a negative connotation and I realized that this leader barely had any self-awareness. It begs the question - are egotistic people solely responsible for their amplified sense of self?
I tend to think that people who are around a leader also share some responsibility in shaping the leader’s image. If followers keep inflating their ego and don’t provide timely and adequate feedback, things can certainly get out of hand fairly quickly. If these leaders ignore the feedback, of course they are responsible for their own plight. If people keep singing your praise and keep feeding into how wonderful you are, it can get to your head sooner or later. I am pretty sure there are leaders who are secure and wouldn’t get affected by such adulation, nor let it go to their head. However, insecure leaders could be surviving on these false praises and lose any sense of reality. In the process, their own behavior would be hurting their image.
Needless to say, as a leader, one should be self-aware and keep one’s ego in check. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to keep your ego at bay:
- Do I seek regular feedback from people around me such as my customers, peers, friends, family etc.?
- If I get constructive feedback on my personality, do I dismiss it or give it some thought?
- Am I only worried about my own image or am I helping others build theirs?
- Am I self-aware? What steps do I take in order to increase my self-awareness?
- Do I have a trusted network that I can rely on for honest feedback; or have I surrounded myself with people who constantly praise me?