Self Serving Leadership is Dangerous

By Lolly Daskal

Good leadership is focused on others, but self-serving leadership undermines that principle to focus on the ego and the symptoms can take hold and begin damaging your leadership before you’re even aware. Be on guard against these signs so you can recognize them in yourself before they take root and grow:

Arguing. If you find yourself often arguing with others or in a mindset where you’re right and others are wrong, you’re likely coming across as rigid and unwilling to listen. Stop arguing and start being open to finding points of agreement.

Absence. If you’re always engaged in something else when your people need you, they’ll see you as distracted, absorbed and preoccupied. Work to becoming a leader who empowers, inspires and motivates by being available and accessible.

Defensiveness. When your leadership is about protecting and defending yourself, you’re likely to find yourself working against those you’re supposed to be leading.

Boasting. When you take all the credit instead of sharing it with your team, you show them where your priorities are, so don’t expect them to work so hard next time. Spotlight your people instead of yourself.

Bluster. If you’re in the habit of speaking over others, interrupting, and making statements without allowing others to respond or express their own thoughts, you kill the energy and ideas of your team. Talk less and listen more.

Competitiveness. Competition can spur people to do great work, but if you’re competing against those you lead, you’re setting a bad example. Remember that they’re on your side; work to elevate their performance and focus your competitive side elsewhere.

Envy. When you’re jealous or begrudging of those you lead, remember that leadership at its core is taking pleasure in other people’s success. Celebrate, appreciate and recognize the work and success of others.

Self-promotion. If your leadership is ego-driven, you’re missing the point. Turn your attention to elevating those you lead, not yourself. Any time you  find yourself wanting to promote yourself, change it up and honor your team instead.

Delusion. if you’re basing your leadership on a false impression of your own self-importance, you need to understand that grandstanding serves only to isolate you from those you are trying to influence and lead, and it’s counterproductive to bringing people together to do great things. Break down the false and misleading impressions you have of yourself and practice leading from reality.

Ego. When you think of leadership as something you do to serve yourself, your leadership is bogged down in ego. Instead, try dedicating your energy to helping others be successful. Be known as a leader who serves others instead of yourself.

Self-serving leadership is dangerous to you and to those you lead. Few things can do more to undermine your influence, respect and trust.

Lead from within: It’s easy to fall into self-serving leadership behaviors, even if it’s not the way you normally operate. So be a thoughtful leader who is self-aware at all times.

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