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Ego might be great for you. But it can be a business killer


Did you just become an entrepreneur? If so, have you wondered what motivated you to turn one? Money? Fun? Or simply ego?

If it’s the latter, you might want to step back and review your innermost motivations. Or maybe see a psychologist before your business fails – as it will, crashing your ego alongwith.

Ego is not a bad thing. Once you have built a good business, you might deserve to stoke it for a while. However, if that is a big reason to enter business, it might be just the first of several false steps you will end up taking. Here’s why.

  • Teamwork is the name of the game. Businesses require great team play and collaboration to meet their goals. An unhealthy ego is one of the greatest barriers to effective teamwork. An outsized ego erodes the effectiveness of teams, and creates an agenda-driven environment in which leaders with uncontrollable egos put their needs ahead of the organisation’s goals.
  • Leadership is key. To succeed, teams need effective leadership. But ego is a big barrier to effective leadership. The first step toward becoming an enlightened leader is to realize – and accept – that you don’t have all the answers. If you don’t, it is your business that will suffer.
  • Get an ear to the ground. Being the owner of your business, you might be busy running the company and may not have the time to directly connect with your customers. Your best path to customers is through your staff. Shed your ego and seek advice and answers from your team that interacts with your customers. This will give your team a sense of worth and do wonders to their morale.
  • Learning on the job. True learning begins only when you have fully shed your ego, and truly opened your mind. Once you’ve understood that you don’t have all the answers and not everything is about you, you can begin learning from others’ experiences and understand other points of view. Your mentors will surely be one of the best people to learn from, aside from your team and customers. Truly enlightened leaders learn from everybody – even the receptionist and the janitor.
  • Get help, if necessary. Without some outside help, it will be nearly impossible for an ego-driven leader to change his ways. It would help to assign a peer or even a subordinate to call your attention when you fail to provide humble leadership. Remember that teamwork and collaboration are what makes a business successful.

Jeremy Liddle was the founder in 2005 of RioLife, a natural health company, and has now authored his first book, “From Idea to Start-Up.”