Everyone has an ego. Some are underdeveloped, others are well developed—and then there are the overdeveloped egos. An overdeveloped ego can, in some cases, ultimately transform into narcissism.
Many CEOs have well-developed egos, and businesses need that in their leader. But what if your CEO is narcissistic? A narcissistic CEO stops listening to those around them and does things to feed their ego at the expense of the company.
The opposite of ego leadership is Leadership in Hyperdrive: Powered by Improv™. Leaders who use improv as a means of leading have a foundation of respect, trust, and support from their organization and their people. They know how to suspend their judgment, be active listeners, be present, and be adaptable. They also believe that leadership is the positive effect you have on other people.
How does improv power effective leadership? It helps you let go of your ego. Improv is all about the team, not you. Listening, presence, and “yes, and” are the fuel to hyperdrive your leadership.
There are four things that help create a bond of understanding and trust between leaders and employees:
- Practice empathy over ego
- Deal with the embarrassment of being ignorant
- Be patient with yourself
- Tell people what they already know in ways they’ve never thought of before
“Without I” is an exercise that demonstrates how to park your ego. This exercise requires two people to have a conversation about anything. During discussion, each player tries not to use the word “I” in response to the other person. It teaches you to be collaborative with your partner using the philosophy of “yes, and.”
“Thank You” is another improv exercise that shows you how to park your ego and express gratitude. Two people have a conversation about anything. After the initial discussion, you reply “Thank you” and add on a response. In today’s corporate world, we seek information for our work from others, and the more we offer appreciation, the more the other person appreciates our efforts. This exercise can also demonstrate how to accept feedback instead of being defensive. When you get defensive, that’s your ego getting in the way.
Let go of your ego and become a stronger and more impactful leader.