Archive for the ‘ego-centric leadership’ Category

The Impact of Ego-Centric Leadership

Monday, April 11th, 2011

“Level 5 leaders display a compelling modesty, are self-effacing and understated.  In contrast, two thirds of the comparison companies had leaders with gargantuan personal egos that contributed to the demise or continued mediocrity of the company.”

Jim Collins, Good to Great, Why Some Companies Make the Leap  . . . and Others Don’t

Jim Collins says his research showed that gargantuan personal egos do not lead to corporate success.  In wondering why, here are a few observations:

Ego-centric individuals are all about themselves.  As such they have difficulty creating the relationships with followers that sustain the efforts of an organization.  While they may drive results by their force of will in the short-term, they often create resentments and divisions that harm the organization over the long haul.

Ego-centric leaders think they have all the answers which make it hard for them to listen to other opinions or to become educated beyond their own pre-conceived notions.  A lack of understanding of the true situation drastically hampers their chance for success.

Ego-centric people tend to attract and retain “Yes Men” while driving away “A” Players.  Strong subordinates expect to participate and be heard and will not long stay in a job where they are not given an opportunity to participate in decisions or make a difference.  As pointed out in Good to Great, when the ego-centric leader departs, there is not a strong successor waiting in the wings or any depth of talent in the senior management ranks.

Ego-centric leaders want all the credit for success and are more likely to blame others for failures.  Followers are quick to grasp this selfish behavior and have little respect for or desire to support such a leader.  Without the willing involvement of followers no endeavor will succeed for long.

Ego-centric people want to be star players and do not build teams.  In this modern age, enterprises and endeavors are far too complex for any one person to completely grasp.  Success can only come by assembling a team of talented individuals who understand all the relevant disciplines and can implement them effectively.

Ego-centric leaders are incapable of empowering others.  It’s just not part of their makeup to care enough about others to make the effort on their behalf.   Without empowered employees at all levels of the organization, problems will abound.

While an ego-centric leader can achieve spectacular success by force of will and personality, he will never “build the enduring greatness” of a Level 5 leader as posited by Jim Collins.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

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