The Art of Practicing Egolessness
In my last pulse entitled “The Art of Practice – Lessons learned from a 550 Mile Ride” I spoke about the first essential to exceptional leadership.
The second is all about practicing the art of Egolessness.
The concept of ego has been around forever. There is nothing new about the fact that we all have an ego. The question is whether as leaders and managers our ego drives or hampers our success.
It is important to ask ourselves – who is in the driver’s seat at any given time – ego or spirit? If we are looking to achieve great team spirit and organizational effectiveness, ego needs to know its place.
Lao Tzu once said: Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. And with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say ‘We have done this ourselves.”
It takes someone committed to excellence, to be willing to serve others. The term Ubuntu – “I am who I am because of those around me” or differently stated, “ I am because of you”, means quite literally – “human-ness”. It is often translated as “humanity towards others”, but is also used, in a more philosophical sense, to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.” (Wikipedia).
Think of a time, in your personal life or at work, when you felt that someone really had your back, that they were just as committed to your success as their own, that they were in the game for you to win, as much as for them to win and were there to see you fly…what ingredients were needed for you to feel this sense of support? Was it not trust, generosity, kindness, walking in your shoes…
In order to be that support for your teams, there needs to be a generosity of heart, an understanding of who each of these people are, where they come from, what energizes them in the morning, who and how they love – then, you see this person for who they really are.
This behavior is a powerful way to ignite authentic engagement. It’s also one of the most direct ways to build trust, and inspire discretionary effort…a way to build a culture that naturally drives success and fulfillment.