How to Get Your Leadership Ego Under Control

BY Kathy Crosett
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There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. As a leader, it’s especially important to find that line. If you don’t, and your employees perceive you as being too full of yourself, your company’s bottom line will take a hit. Jennifer Miller reviews this situation in a smartbrief​.com post and suggests a few ways to “let the air out of your leadership ego.”

One way to quickly build rapport with team members as a new leader is to put yourself in their shoes. Spend a day with the customer service staff, handling phone calls and emails. Admit that you don’t know the first thing about their processes and ask them to train you and to show you the most frustrating parts of their jobs.

Allocate another day to working with the team members who build your products or manage your services. Whether it’s standing on an assembly line, delivering groceries, or changing tires, don’t be afraid to put on the uniform and get your hands dirty. The personal interactions will help you build rapport with team members.

The work experience should be a reality check, and possibly humiliating for you. You might get to personally deal with the sense of failure and frustration the employees in your call center encounter on a daily basis. You might realize that your mechanics lack the right tools to do the job after the tire you’re working on rolls out of the shop and you’re forced to chase it down the street. You might be the leader and know how to manage, but these experiences will teach you that you don’t know everything.

Another piece of key advice from Miller is to hire a “truth-​teller.” No, this isn’t the same as a fortune teller. You need someone in the work environment who isn’t going to mollycoddle you, because she wants a raise. A "truth-​teller" might be a valued friend or a long-​term employee who’s known for always speaking his mind. The point is, you need to spend time with someone who will tell you when you’re out of line or when they think you’re making a bad decision. This arrangement only works if you actually listen to your “truth-​teller.”

Read the rest of Miller’s suggestions and decide which ones might work for you. As you keep your ego in check, your company’s fortunes will rise. You’ll also be setting an example for the kind of culture you want the company to have.