Avoid These 8 Ego Traps

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EgoI recently read a book excerpt from Jen Shirkani called “Ego vs EQ”, and in it she shares eight ego traps we can easily fall into as leaders.

Ego Trap One: Ignoring Feedback You Don’t Like

It can be hard to hear honest feedback—especially when the feedback is not what we think or want to believe about ourselves. But the consequences of ignoring that feedback can be even more damaging.

 Ego Trap Two: Believing Your Technical Skills Trump Your Leadership Skills

Brilliant intellect and strong technical expertise mean very little if we cannot collaborate with others to leverage that knowledge to move our team forward.

Ego Trap Three: Surrounding Yourself with More of You

When it comes to the challenges of building a high-performing team, leaders who shortcut a thorough interview and hire someone they “click with” because they share their same strengths, values, and ways of thinking—end up with exactly the people least likely to challenge their decisions.

Ego Trap Four: Not Letting Go of Control

At the heart of micromanagement is an ego-based failure to let go of control.

Ego Trap Five: Being Blind to Your Downstream Impact

It’s easy for leaders across organizations to have a blind spot regarding their downstream impact: They may not have any advisors to give them feedback, and their direct reports may silently defer to them.

Ego Trap Six: Underestimating How Much You’re Being Watched

Everyone watches what the leader does. That isn’t an ego trip; it’s a fact. As leader of the organization, their behavior—for good or for ill—is the primary example by which everyone else acts.

Ego Trap Seven: Losing Touch with the Front Line Experience

As a person of influence, it is all too easy to become disconnected from the troops.

Ego Trap Eight: Relapsing Back to Your Old Ways

Unfortunately, there is only one “sin” greater than falling into any of the Ego Traps — it’s called an ego relapse—the damaging descent from newfound emotional intelligence skills, right back into an ego pitfall.  If perception and loyalty were on the line before changing, there are even more important things at stake for sustaining it.

Be watchful of these traps.  We don’t know we’ve been trapped until good people stop risking telling us the truth and then leave. Or we have a credibility lapse.

The solution?   Humility.

We aren’t the smartest person in the room, truth be told.

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