Paul Hargreaves: Egoistical Leadership
This week seems a good week to talk about the ego – and leadership. Too many leaders lead from the perspective of themselves. What makes themselves look better or bigger. Or what makes them feel better about themselves. We had a good example this week in the News. The bullying examples against Priti Patel. More specifically her apology, which, in my view wasn’t really an apology at all. “I am sorry if I have upset others. Clearly no sense of an awareness of how her behaviour had impacted others. Now, of course, I am sure there two sides to every story, but I tend to work on the basis that I am not perfect and therefore sometimes my own self-centred behaviour can impact others sometimes, so surely best to give a proper apology.
‘Egoistic’ is defined as ‘being centred or pre-occupied with oneself and the gratification of ones’ own desires’. Self-centred people simply do not see the impact that their behaviour has on others. Often this is motivated by deficits in their own psychological make-up – the need to be loved, the need to be accepted, the need to be important etc… I watched the tragic Storyville documentary on Oscar Pretorius over the past week, which I thoroughly recommend. It is the story of a man who overcome tremendous adversity to become of national hero, but underneath the glory one was left feeling sorry for the little boy underneath who had childhood needs of his parent’s love, which in some way contributed to the tragic story we all now know about.
Leadership should not be about us, the leaders. It is all about the people we lead and serve. If we have unrequited needs within our psychology then it can be a nightmare for those we are meant to be serving. What better example at present of Trump, who due to always getting what he wanted from age 2 upwards seems never to have faced defeat in his life with the terrible consequences for what was once a nation that was looked up to by others. This is not the case worldwide now after 4 years of egoistical leadership.
Let’s resolve to make our leadership, at whatever level, not about us but about those we are called to serve.