flowcultura blog

The I in team: ego and its impact on leadership

17-Feb-2021 07:00:00 / by Caroline Butcher posted in personal development, continuous improvement, leadership, professional identity


Photo by Hulki Okan Tabak on Unsplash


The egotistical leader – much maligned, often parodied (think David Brent in The Office) and arguably a victim of their own success. The kind of behaviour we associate with them aligns with the classic definition of ego, which the Harvard Business Review determines to be “the enemy of good leadership”.

But it’s ok, right? You’re not that kind of leader. Maybe not, but there’s another (psychoanalytical) definition of ego, and this is the kind which influences the behaviour of us all. In Latin, “Ego” translates simply as “I”; it is the mental concept of who you are and forms the lens through which you make sense of the world around you. So yes, ego can create an over-inflated sense of importance in the world, but it can also do just the opposite, depending upon your conditioning.

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Self-doubt: connect with your inner child, not your inner critic

03-Feb-2021 07:00:00 / by Caroline Butcher posted in personal development, continuous improvement, leadership


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash


One December back when my nephew was 3 years old, he was eager to visit my house to help decorate the Christmas tree. His focus and enthusiasm were enviable; he knew exactly what he was there to do and was satisfied that he had the right equipment to hand. An hour later, he stepped back and declared with a flourish, “that looks BEAUTIFUL!” I looked at the tree - which had no ornaments above his 3ft eyeline - and laughed to myself, committing the moment to memory but also desperate to rearrange the decorations according to my usual precise ornament-to-foliage ratio. I waited, of course, until my nephew had gone home, beaming with pride at his job well done.

I often wonder at what point the self-belief, fearlessness and sheer determination of childhood begin to wane. Even as I type, my mind is like a cutting room floor covered in ideas I dismissed on the grounds that they weren’t good enough, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. It seems to me that self-doubt lurks in our limbic systems, ready to strike when (heaven forbid!) we might dare to feel like we’re doing okay.

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Forget the resolutions: why resilience will make you a better leader

19-Jan-2021 07:00:00 / by Caroline Butcher posted in personal development, continuous improvement, leadership


Photo by Amanda Jones on Unsplash


“New year, new me!” has always troubled me as a concept. This notion that the clock strikes midnight on 31st December and you experience the kind of existential epiphany that catapults you into a life of zen and perfection doesn’t sit well. Jan 1st might seem like a good day to “start new” (particularly for specific goals like quitting smoking), but research suggests that many New Year’s resolutions fail, so realistically any day of the year has just as much potential. The word “resolution” also carries connotations of finding solutions to problems – do you really want to see your life as a problem to be solved when it could be a work in progress instead?


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