As the poet-philosopher Sturgill Simpson once said, “Woke up today and decided to kill my ego.”
Leadership is a funny thing. Especially as an organization scales.
It takes a healthy amount of ego to think you can do what others deem unthinkable.
But if your only speed is full speed ahead, you can run into… problems. People don’t like working for Tasmanian Devil-inspired managers.
The company we keep, especially the company we keep inside of our companies (or teams, or groups, or whatever you non-lone wolves call your cliques) have to like the work they do.
They don’t have to like you (although that helps).
Sam Walton (Mr. Walmart) said “I learned a long time ago that exercising your ego in public is definitely not the way to build an effective organization.”
It’s a balancing act. Think the unthinkable, but listen to the listenable, see the seeable, and touch the touchable.
Growth in an organization comes from the collective. The ego of the leader can help set the goal and put the machine in motion, but it’s the collective who will run the process and determine if the organization ultimately succeeds.
The best leaders learn to exercise their ego in private, exorcise it in public, and execute on their goals as a team.