Everyone has an ego. Some of us find it difficult to contain it, while others
require time to control it.
An ego develops when we feel we have some superior quality in us. This
quality can take many forms. It can be physical, such as height, strength, and
beauty, or it can be mental, such as cunning and wisdom. It may also be
financial wealth or influence through position, power or even popularity. We
find it difficult to accept the fact that others may be better than us, especially
in that particular quality where we feel we are better than others.
Sometimes we go overboard by claiming that we are right even though it is
obvious that we are wrong. It is simply our ego that prevents us from
admitting our own mistakes.
People who are ego-driven are dominated by fear and the need to be right
all the time. They are afraid to fail because they think their worth as human
beings depends on how others see them. To them success is measured by the
number of wins they achieve. Furthermore, there is very little humility in
those who are ego-driven.
If we excessively entertain our ego, we shall feel that our opinions are
always the best, our information is the most accurate, our attitude towards
things are the most apt, our method or approach to solving problems is the
only correct one, our suggestions must be accepted, and our decisions must be
the most appropriate. In other words, we can never be wrong. We insist that
we are still right despite all the arguments against us. We become angry and
irrational. We would even say things that hurt others because we could not
care less about their feelings.
This behavior leads to arrogance. Arrogance occurs when there are at
least two people possessing the same quality, but one feels that he is superior
to the other. Arrogance is different from conceit which occurs when someone
feels that he has a good quality in him and admires himself for having such a
quality. He does not need to compare himself with another individual to feel
conceited. From these definitions, egoism is closer to arrogance than conceit.
One of the most destructive traits of a leader today is arrogance -- behaving
as if he has got it together all the time. This is why these leaders do not
entertain the opinions of others. They do not recognize that there is great
strength in diversity of talents, information, experience and suggestions.
In most cases, they prefer to listen only to those things that are pleasing to
them. This is a great weakness because their subordinates will learn in no
time to just please them with pleasant information updates and
bitter event under the carpet. These leaders will be made to believe that
everything is under control, that everything is fine and moving along smoothly.
Worse still, these leaders will reward those who please them or present
only positive feedback. Subordinates who sincerely report the truth will
receive admonition. These sincere subordinates will never be rewarded and
eventually they will leave.