Ego and Leadership

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists.  When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” –Lao Tzu

Which is more important?

Being the leader everyone knows is in charge, or

Being the leader who helps others take charge?

The only way any leader can succeed is to multiply themselves with the help of others.  Only by helping others take charge does the engine of multiplication come to life.

How can you best create ownership within your organization?

Giving commands, or

Asking questions?

This is an easy question.  It’s also one of hardest for many to put into action.  Asking questions is the answer.

What matters most?

Planting your ideas with others, so those seeds of thought take on a life of their own, or

Receiving accolades for your brilliant ideas?

Accolades are nice, but there’s nothing like the quiet satisfaction of seeing your ideas surpass your wildest expectations in the hands of others.

What’s the secret to answering each of these questions correctly?

Realizing the difference between confidence and ego.  Ego is like a wall that separates each of us from truly limitless potential.  Ego is fueled by fear and envy.  Ego worries about embarrassment.

Confidence is what you get when you find a way to leave your ego at the door.  Confidence isn’t afraid, or envious. Confidence loves to explore.  Confidence is happy to let go of itself.  Confidence is willing to be wrong, or look foolish, without embarrassment…especially when pursuing the biggest truths in life

A leader driven by ego is powerless, without realizing it.

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” –Bill Gates


Author: Bob Dailey

Born and raised in Southern California. Graduated from (and met my future wife at) Cal Poly Pomona, in 1988. Married to Janet for almost 35 years. Father of two: Julianne and Jennifer. Grandfather of 7. Held many positions in small, medium, and large companies. Trail runner, competitive stair climber, backpacker, camper, off-roader, world traveler, sometimes writer.

One thought on “Ego and Leadership”

  1. I see myself there all the time. And that is exactly what has “chained” me to my desk for 20+ yrs. Not so much the ego, but the lack of confidence. The confidence of letting go of certain responsibilities that I haven’t felt as though I could trust to others. In recent months though I have realized it’s time to let go, delegate a LOT more, let them learn, (at various levels of expense) and take the next step UP! That’s the only way I’ll break that “chain”…. By creating a “stronger” chain…. In my co-workers / teammates…… Then, and only then, can I move on to bigger, or just “more” opportunity. J

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