Ego makes a leader un-teachable and unapproachable – two leadership killers. Keeping your ego in check means making it about we not me. It means giving credit and taking responsibility.
If I were to ask what caused the financial crisis in 2008, what would you say? (Hint: e answer has nothing to do with money). A common belief is that it was incompetence that caused the fall, a lack of knowledge or skill needed to get the job done.
But if we believe it was incompetence that caused the financial collapse, then we are saying that everyone on Wall Street was an idiot, which may sound funny, but it’s not true. e people working on Wall Street and those who contributed the most to the financial crisis were some of the most competent people out there. What caused the financial crisis wasn’t incompetence but rather overconfidence.
Incompetence is the problem of the unprepared and the under-equipped.
Overconfidence is the problem of experts and leaders.
I heard Malcolm Gladwell speak recently and he talked about this concept and it really got me thinking.
When the experts and leaders on Wall Street became overconfident they began to make bad decisions, take unhealthy risk, think selfishly, and shut out all constructive feedback. It was overconfidence that caused the market to collapse and in many cases it is overconfidence that causes businesses to fail, nations to falter and major crises to occur.
So what is the remedy for this problem facing the experts and leaders of today?
What does humility do?
– It keeps your ego at bay while remaining confident in your capabilities.
– It makes you more concerned with what is right than who is right.
– It embraces new truth rather than defending outdated position.
– It ensures we never stop learning, growing, or listening.
Overconfidence causes us to lose perspective. Humility, the art of being humble, is the anecdote to overconfidence. Something every competent expert and leader needs.