Optimist Performance

As we approach the quarter mark of the year, we thought we’d take time for self-reflection. How have you been showing up in your role at work?

Welcome to this month’s Optimistic Insights, where we’ll delve into the intriguing topic of ego in leadership and the journey towards authentic interactions with others.


Have you ever found yourself in a leadership position, surrounded by success and accolades, only to realise that there’s a sense of dissonance? Perhaps you’ve noticed how easily people laugh at your jokes or agree with your decisions. The truth is, success can inflate our egos, leading us down a path of illusion rather than authentic leadership.

The Illusion of Success

The inflated ego that often accompanies success—the corner office, the higher salary, the easy laughs—can lead us to believe we’ve found the ultimate key to leadership. However, this perception can be deceiving. As we rise in the ranks, we acquire more power. And with that, people are more likely to want to please us by listening more attentively, agreeing more, and laughing at our jokes. All of this tickles the ego. And when the ego is tickled, it grows.

Deflating the Ego and Journeying to Authentic Leadership

In our fast-paced professional environments, the ego can often wield significant influence, shaping our interactions, decisions, and ultimately, our leadership style. However, left unchecked, our ego can hinder our ability to connect with others authentically and lead with integrity.

In a 2018 Harvard Business Review article (read the full article HERE) the dangers of an inflated ego were explored, shedding light on how it can narrow our perspective, distort our behavior, and erode trust within teams. But it’s not all bad, because recognising and managing our egos is the first step we take in cultivating authentic leadership.

Self-Assessment: How Does Your Ego Show Up?

To help you on this journey of self-discovery, we’ve included a brief self-assessment for you to reflect on how your ego manifests in your daily interactions. Take a moment to consider the following questions:

  1. Do you find yourself seeking recognition or validation for your accomplishments?
  2. How do you respond to feedback or criticism? Do you tend to become defensive or open-minded?
  3. Are you able to acknowledge and learn from your mistakes, or do you feel the need to always be right?
  4. Do you prioritise collaboration and team success, or are you primarily focused on individual achievements?
  5. How do you handle situations where others outshine you or receive praise for their contributions?

Cultivating Authenticity: Practical Tips

As you reflect on your responses to the self-assessment, consider incorporating the following tips into your leadership approach:

  • Practice active listening and empathy to foster genuine connections with your team members.
  • Embrace vulnerability by admitting mistakes and seeking input from others.
  • Prioritize the collective success of the team over individual recognition.
  • Foster a culture of trust and collaboration by encouraging open communication and feedback.

Closing Thoughts

Authentic leadership is not about having all the answers or projecting a flawless image; it’s about showing up as your true self and inspiring others to do the same. As you embark on this journey of self-reflection and growth, remember that every step forward, no matter how small, brings you closer to becoming the leader you aspire to be.

Thank you for joining us on this exploration of ego and authenticity in leadership. We look forward to continuing this conversation with you. Drop us a line via explore@optimistperformance.com or start a discussion on social media; Twitter or LinkedIn

Let’s make sure you’re smashing it. 

To thrive together, The Optimist Team 💪