When I get defensive, find myself not listening well, being unnecessarily argumentative, etc., it’s likely because my ego is sitting on my shoulder like a petulant parrot, chirping away in protective but usually dysfunctional ways. This is what Sarah Morris of The Parallax Partnership (executive coaching and OD firm in the UK) stated about the ego and leadership in a blog.
“The ego is a rather brittle and inflexible character. When we are in its grip our actions are rooted subconsciously in fear. At all costs, we try to defend our rather vulnerable and fragile self concept. Above all else, the ego fears its disintegration and therefore works tirelessly to build strong defenses which maintain its integrity in the face of ‘the other.’ ‘The other’, of course, is any other person or external event which presents a threat to its stability… ego-full behaviours abound in the workplace including: manipulation, blaming, procrastination, bullying and control-freakery.”
I have become much more conscious and aware of the role of my ego the last few years. When my ego is sitting quietly, I’m able to see more clearly; bring much more calm to any situation, and be a more effective leader. I am more able to concentrate on what’s best for all versus what my ego suggests. Morris goes on to say,
“Our focus on the needs of the whole before our own, creates a more collaborative, creative and sustainable environment for problem-solving. This is the way of the Conscious Leader.”
I wish I was coached to be more aware and conscious earlier in my career. This is to help get you there faster than me!
Setting the ego aside requires the ability to observe that it’s resident and active in our minds. This is harder than it sounds. We are not our mind. One had to be present, and being conscious is the first hurdle. When we are aware, we can proceed in a more collaborative way. The ego can fight the values in the Character Triangle. It can nudge us to blame, attack and horde. It exists for a protective purpose but the ego is a tool for our use not the other way around.
Character Move: Spend time observing when your ego has put you in win/lose situations. What would have happened if you stepped back to focus on the whole? Been more collaborative? Less fearful?
Be Conscious in the Triangle,