But when business leaders allow an unhealthy ego to drive them, enormous problems are certain to follow, says Kimberly Roush, founder of All-Star Executive Coaching and co-author of Who Are You… When You Are Big?
“A big ego can be toxic,” Roush says. “Your ego should not feed on the thought, ‘I’m bigger and more important than you.’ Instead, your ego should thrive on the thought, ‘I’m big because I’ve made the best of myself and I know you can do the same.’ It’s the difference between the ego of a big head and the ego of a big heart. And frankly, we need more leaders who lead from the heart.”
She offers a few tips to help leaders get started on the road to accomplishing that:
- Cultivate resourceful mindsets in yourself and others. There are no unresourceful people, but there are unresourceful states of mind, Roush says. “They include fear, doubt, and stress,” she says. “People are often unresourceful when they feel overwhelmed, or when they become judgmental. Resourceful states are the positive ones: You are confident, empathetic, playful, energetic, enthusiastic, curious, joyful, loving, engaged, and grateful.”
- Play to strengths. People too often focus on weaknesses, Roush says. “We’re always trying to fix what’s wrong,” she says. “We feel deficient, so we try to close the gap, but when people focus on their weaknesses they end up acting defensively, pointing fingers and blaming others.” By contrast, she says, when someone focuses on strengths, they’re celebrating what is right. “We feel engaged, we collaborate, and we find job satisfaction,” Roush says. “We feel a sense of joy, flow, energy, and fulfillment. Each of us has strengths that are unique and enduring, and it is in our strengths that we have the greatest room for growth.”
- Don’t let challenges overwhelm you. Roush says business leaders – and people in general – have a choice when difficulties emerge. “We can look at our challenges as insurmountable, and that’s what they will become,” she says. “Or we can assume there are solutions out there for us to find – and they will come to us. Yes, work takes effort, but it doesn’t have to be onerous. The effort can be so much fun that it seems to be no work at all.”
“Can we control everything? Absolutely not,” Roush says. “Life can happen at any moment, good, bad, or ugly. But do we want to go through life in a cautious, negative state, always looking out for something bad that’s going to happen and perhaps even bringing it on?
“Or do we rewire ourselves so that we see it all as part of the ride? What we can control is how we respond. We can choose the mindset and the mood that we wake up with every morning.”
Kimberly Roush is the founder of All-Star Executive Coaching, which specializes in coaching C-level and VP-level executives from Fortune 100 companies to solo entrepreneurs. She also is co-author of Who Are You… When You Are Big? Roush, a former national partner with a “Big 4” public accounting firm, brings more than 30 years of business experience to her coaching including extensive work with C-suite executives, boards of directors, and audit committees. She recently launched a program called Back In the Game (BIG), which is a three-month group coaching program for executives in transition. Roush also is a keynote speaker and leadership facilitator, and is a Charter Member of ForbesSpeakers.
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