Leadership and Ego

kinnon —  September 8, 2007 — Leave a comment

Perhaps I should call this Leadership Saturday.

Egonomics-RightFrom this Guy Kawasaki recommended whitepaper – based on the book Egonomics.

…when people estimate the costs of ego, what are they thinking of? In short, here’s what people say leads to those costs:
• whose idea wins matters more than the best idea
• hearing, but not listening
• people thinking me first, company second
• only the “right” people have good ideas
• pressure to fit in
• failure to challenge status-quo
• candid discussion saved for the water cooler
• failures being buried and never spoken of again
• silos created and tolerated
• meetings going longer than necessary
• people resisting making mistakes or admitting them

Kawasaki asks egonomics co-author, Steven Smith to analyze Steve Jobs and this is Smith’s response,

Steve’s gone through a metamorphosis in how he works. He’s always been exceptionally gifted as a creator and designer, but he used those gifts in a way that drove people away from his company and minimized the talent and creative IQ of the people around him. Once he was kicked out of Apple, life began to humble him through his own health challenges, his reputation, losing what he created, etc. Interestingly, Steve came out of that time of his life with a healthier ego, because life had humbled him and he accepted the lessons.

At his commencement speech at Stanford a couple of years ago he said, “I’m pretty sure none of this [NeXT, Pixar, his return to Apple, the iPod and iTunes] would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it.”

Humility is a powerful antidote to unhealthy ego, and we can either humble ourselves, or wait for life to humble us. There was a Fortune cover about one year ago that had Steve on the cover, but the two-page spread inside had six or seven people sitting next to him. We thought that picture said it all; he’s no longer in this by himself, and it appears that he recognizes that. As a result, he’s a much better leader.

Read the entire Kawasaki post here.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

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