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Ego Management: An Important Trait of an Inclusive Leader


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What does it mean to be a good leader? Many say that good leaders must be organized, confident, knowledgeable and great listeners. All of these qualities impact a trait we posted about recently: self-awareness. Another trait that’s closely tied to self-awareness is ego management: a quality that every inclusive leader must possess.

Have you ever worked with leaders whose egos were legendary: leaders who were more focused on building their own empires than leading others effectively? Chances are the answer is “yes.” We have a more important question for you to answer, though: “Have you mastered the art of ego management?”

Self-awareness leads to effective ego management. Leaders need to be able to direct their egos situationally, which means recognizing when it’s best to be center stage and when it’s best to hang back and gather input.

The right to lead no longer resides in the person with role authority or title—it resides in the person who has the best idea at the time when the team needs it. In truth, it resides in the collective knowledge of a group of people with diverse ideas, backgrounds and perspectives: those whose collaborative insights create meaning far greater than individual inputs.

It’s important to note that great leaders need to have strong egos. Without strong egos, they might find it tough to be effective. In fact, there are many elements of strong egos that are critical for effective leadership. The key, though, is developing the ability to balance ego and the needs of others. This balance is the key to an effective culture.

In the past, leaders felt they were required to always be the smartest person in the room or the person with all of the answers. Today’s effective leaders—inclusive leaders—often are those who recognize that they don’t have all of the answers, and they know they don’t need to. They value the power of their team’s collective wisdom, insights and experiences, and they are willing to listen to others who may have more, and better, answers.

What about you? Are you adept at ego management? Be inclusive! 

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