Funny, but we all have a desire to want to look good, get recognition and do well. That is a healthy attitude in life. But we all need to recognize the balance of wanting all the credit to giving all the credit. In leadership, great leaders like to see the success of others, especially those that they took an initiative and interest in seeing them develop. This is what I call a good sense of pride of witnessing how those you mentored are leaders themselves. This gives great leaders their sense of purpose. One of the most important things I learned as developing as a leader is your ego is not your amigo. In fact, the best leaders check their ego at the door.
I have had the benefit of having strong mentors in my life starting from my parents, to teachers, pastors, and those I have had in business. One such mentor taught me to recognize your strengths and be honest about your weaknesses. Certainly there are ways to work to develop areas that are considered your weaknesses. But there is also value in determining if the effort in trying to change that weakness outweighs what can be achieved by spending that effort in maximizing your strength. This is truly something to measure and discern.
Anyway, this mentor openly and honestly stated that why he hired me to run the business is because he knew that he lacked the people skills to do it effectively and that I had that ability. I found this interesting because he openly admitted a weakness in his abilities. But in addition, he not only admitted the weakness he decided it was not worth the effort for him to try to develop in this area or that he would struggle to develop in this area. He recognized that a smarter decision was to focus on his strength and find a better solution to work around his weakness. Watching this in action and how it played out was a valuable lesson.
This person, one of my valuable mentors in life and business, taught me that your ego is not your amigo. What this truly meant was just to be honest with yourself and others about strengths, weaknesses, and the balance needed for both. Our partnership in my employment with him was a tremendous success. This person, my mentor, was a great business planner and he was a great thought leader as well. He recognized that to be most effective in our business that he needed another leader to compliment his areas of weakness so therefore all areas needed for success would be covered. This was a great lesson for me to be a part of.
As I have moved forward to be associated with other teams I have witnessed where other great leaders have not allowed their ego to get in the way. However we all have probably even witnessed the opposite in leaders where they struggled with recognizing a weakness and it affected others. I believe the best climate is one that builds a culture where it is not about ego but about execution. That is truly a culture that is exciting to be a part of. One of the best comments I have ever have heard from a leader is when that leader stated, “If I am in the way, you need to let me know. I do not want to be that guy.” That is a leader that is secure in his own skin. That leader knows that his ego is not his amigo.