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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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