Ego, leadership and collaboration

The more I learn about leadership and creativity, the more I realise that we must learn about ourselves and what drives us in order to be effective leaders. Leaders that create great change do so because they believe in something and care deeply. They are able to drive change and to train the people around them to understand what’s possible to do –  and they can even lead others to share their beliefs and enthusiasm.

It’s not easy being a leader and I think it’s especially hard for women to be leaders. But this article will not be about female or male leaders. Here we are going to focus on what drives us and where that drive comes from.

A while ago I was interviewed by the Web Managers Group blog and I said that the less you lead without your ego the better.

When I said ego, what I had in mind were the people you meet who can never be wrong … it’s as if they have a stubborn shell around their whole body and personality. They can’t listen to anyone. Working with someone like this is frustrating. Do you recognise my description of this type of person? I believe we all meet people like this every now and then.
Be open for new ideas and get rid of your stubborn shell

Facebook inspired me to write this post
To let my friends know that I had been interviewed in the blog I put an update on my Facebook page that mentioned egos and leadership and that your ego is the invisible cord that keeps you away from what is possible. This led to a very interesting discussion, and two professional speakers on leadership, Paul Bridle and Graham Wilson, and some other friends gave their input.

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I said in my Facebook update that if you are more open to suggestions and ideas you will have more fun at work. If you look at modern organisations, many people start working for a company because they like the brand. They like the sensation they feel when thinking about the brand.

A while ago I read in an HR magazine that 70% of all young professionals leave the organisation they work for because of bad leadership. I believe that bad leadership and big egos are connected.

I also think that if you are stubborn in a way that prevents the birth of new ideas you will not be a very nice person to work with. Most of us like to work with people who make us feel part of a group. If your colleagues never listen to you then you are not going to be a happy bunny.

A few years ago I produced a series of online videos and the director I worked with said something that’s stuck in my mind ever since, she said that we want to work with people who are nice, that give us energy and that are happy to share their thoughts and ideas with us. And, if we are able to do these things this means that we are not driven by our egos, but that instead we are driven by collaboration and the ability to think in partnership with others.

As a film director and producer, my friend is always working with talented people who are dependent on each other. These people would not be able to create any of the TV programmes or documentaries they do if they were not good at working together. They’re highly dependent on each other’s skills, knowledge, experience and desire to create something amazing that will inspire people.

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Leave your ego behind and become a better leader










So, why am I connecting a Facebook post to a film director?  Because I think we can learn a lot from the film director’s collaborative working methods. I think that we’re getting pickier and pickier about who we work with, why we’re doing what we’re doing and where we’re doing what we’re doing.

If you are not able to tune into other people’s true talents and skills this will not benefit your business’s development.

So, here are a few things that I’ve observed: 

  • My friend the film director is great at managing other people’s talent.
  • She communicates why she is doing what she’s doing all the time.
  • She recognises that she would never be able to do this by herself.

I especially remember when we were filming together near the Southbank Centre in London and how we worked as a team to complete different tasks in a very chaotic environment. What we did was to listen to each other, show appreciation and ask for tips and advice on how to do things better. I remember noticing that everyone around me had very high expectations. And high expectations are not to be confused with ego.

I believe that the future will be more collaborative and will be more about partnerships. If you want collaboration to work for you, you need to delve deep within yourself and see what is driving you to do what you do. Think about how you share your thoughts and ideas with the people you meet in your network online or offline. Be better at showing appreciation and people will work harder.

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By the pen is Sofie Sandell, if this was the first time you read my blog, welcome here. I share my thoughts about leadership, creativity and social media. I believe that we should use the digital tools smarter to reach further and higher.