Embracing Egoless Role-Modeling: The Second Pillar of Transformational Leadership

Let me say a few words about the word “ego.” Many people think that ego means arrogance, aggression, or hubris (pride). I use the word ego to describe the operating system of our personality which each of us has built over time, based on conditions and events that shaped our view of the world. Now, our operating systems have some commonalities: they function automatically, they pattern-match to learned beliefs about the world, they keep us safe from those who wish us harm. Unfortunately, in the process of these automatic, pattern-matching, safety rituals, we lose access to a great deal of information and creativity.  We become distracted by feeling threatened or attacked or offended by some triggering event. We convince ourselves that someone doesn’t like us, or thinks we are wrong, or that we are out of control. Ego-less leadership, then, becomes a practice of becoming aware of the thoughts that are serving the operating system and not the condition, situation, or event at hand. When we choose in favor of a larger perspective beyond our egoic pattern, we allow for greater outcomes, success, and transformation.

So—how do we become aware of our egos in order access greater possibility?  What are the patterns your ego is looking for that will reassure it that it understands the world and that you are seeing things “correctly”? One of the tools to help you understand your scripts and patterns is the Enneagram. I have written a few blogs about this tool and the tremendous insight it can offer you in your practice of self-awareness. If you are curious about your Enneatype, you can go to this website to take a short test. We can train ourselves to recognize our egoic thoughts and patterns, so that we can consciously choose to change our minds, and thereby change our leadership. The old saying, “when all you have is a hammer—everything looks like a nail,” is a great way to think about your egoic lens. You have the perspective of your ego helping you to make sense of the world and to keep you safe in it, but it only sees what it has been trained to see and cannot offer the vast myriad of possibility that is available to you beyond the ego.  When you practice leading from beyond your ego, you become a role model to everyone in your organization to practice the same. The energy shifts away from self-interest and protection to problem-solving and sustainable success.

The benefits of practicing this egoless role-modelling are many. Egoless role-modeling serves as a powerful catalyst for positive change within organizations, fostering a culture of trust, collaboration, and excellence. Its impact reverberates across every facet of organizational life, from employee engagement to overall performance.

Positive Impact on Organizational Culture:

At the heart of egoless role-modeling lies a commitment to authenticity and humility, qualities that serve as cornerstones for building a healthy and vibrant organizational culture. Leaders who demonstrate egoless role-modeling create environments where team members feel valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their best work. By prioritizing open communication, transparency, and inclusivity, these leaders cultivate a sense of belonging and shared purpose, fostering a culture where every voice is heard and every individual is recognized for their unique contributions.

Enhanced Employee Engagement:

Egoless role-modeling is a potent driver of employee engagement, inspiring individuals to fully invest themselves in their work and the success of the organization. When leaders demonstrate humility and empathy, they create psychological safety, encouraging team members to take risks, share ideas, and collaborate freely. This sense of trust and mutual respect fuels a deeper sense of commitment and ownership among employees, leading to higher levels of motivation, creativity, and productivity.

Improved Organizational Performance:

The impact of egoless role-modeling extends beyond culture and engagement to directly impact organizational performance. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth, egoless leaders empower their teams to innovate, adapt, and excel in today’s rapidly changing business landscape. Moreover, egoless leaders prioritize the collective good over individual interests, ensuring that resources are allocated strategically, and decisions are made with the long-term success of the organization in mind. The result is a high-performing organization where individuals are inspired to do their best work and collaborate seamlessly towards shared goals.

Scientific studies have measured the energetic output of individuals during meditation as they move away from the automatic operating systems of their egos, and into the coherent brain patterns of an altered state. The energy amplitudes rise significantly as more energy (we might also call this information) becomes available. We now know that practicing these altered and enhanced states of being increases the awareness of the individuals who practice leaving their egos behind temporarily to access the greater information of a more authentic state of being.

I invite you to begin practicing noticing your ego and its associated defense system and setting it aside in moments of important decision-making to see what new information becomes available to you.

And, of course, if you’re interested in having some help with this practice, please contact me to learn about the leadership development programs we have available at Our Imagined Life.

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Dr. Laurel Ross

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