If you’ve recently been promoted to a leadership position then congratulations. It likely came with an important sounding title and you might be tempted to think you’re pretty hot stuff as a result.
You’re not. You’re not because no one is. Your skills in some areas may be better than someone else’s and you may as a result been able to acquire more “stuff.” But you have to know that doesn’t make you a more valuable human being. No title, no position, and no amount of money can do that. Every person you’ve ever met or ever will meet is worthy of the same level of respect as you, regardless of your or their level of accomplishments.
The danger in thinking you’re hot stuff is that it artificially inflates your ego. Egos need to be fed and when a person’s ego gets too big they invariably steal another person’s ego food. A healthy well balanced ego is the mark of an Authentic Leader. They need no more than their own share of ego food so they have plenty left over to provide recognition and support to their people.
One of the key responsibilities of a leader is to help their people know, without a doubt, that they matter. That they matter to the organization as both an employee and as a person.
The effort required to do that must be intentional and consistent. Helping others understand their worth is not a chore for an Authentic Leader, it is a privilege.
When you forget that, even for a short time, you put all other aspects of your leadership at risk. Large egos tend to make leaders pretty forgetful when it comes recognizing other people.
I can’t close this post without at least a short discussion on ego. Many people reading this will be perplexed by my comments about “feeding” egos. They are perplexed because like many people they have always been told that having an ego is a bad thing. Well that’s like saying sleeping is a bad thing. You have to sleep in order to recharge your batteries for the next day.
You must also have an ego to motivate yourself. Having an ego is a normal as having a nose. Having an ego is not a problem unless it gets so big that you lose sight of the fact that everyone else has one too.
Think of it like this, self-respect comes from having an ego; lack of respect for others comes from having an ego that has grown too large. If your ego has gotten a little too large then put it on a diet by giving your ego food to someone who needs it more than you.