The setting: an entrepreneur with a bold idea. He is committed and works diligently to build his business. He encounters various hurdles on his path to success, but he overcomes them with overconfidence. He has a larger than life personality and takes over a room the minute he enters. He is ruthless, self-centered, and always certain about what he needs to do next. He manages to build a multi-million dollar company from the ground up.
Oh, wait! That’s the Hollywood version of a successful CEO. In reality, a big ego can actually sink your business. It’s difficult to measure the cost of vanity, but some studies suggest that a lot of business people believe that an over-inflated ego can pull down a company’s revenue by 6% to 15% per year……. Ouch!
Now, being a bit narcissistic may benefit your company in certain moments. For instance, studies show that highly self-centered CEOs are better at taking initiative and driving innovation in moments of rapid change. But, there is a very fine line between confidence and an unjustified ego that ignores the facts.
Here’s how to tell when you’ve crossed it and how it can hurt your business.
You Think You Have the Answer to Every Problem
You are the captain of your ship and your people depend on your knowledge and problem-solving skills. They look up to you and ask for your input whenever they encounter an issue. That’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders right there and you might think that admitting that you don’t know something is a sign of weakness.
That’s your ego talking.
A well-rounded entrepreneur knows when he needs help and he is not afraid or ashamed to ask for it. If there is one constant in building a business it is that you never stop learning. Ignoring this fact means sabotaging countless opportunities for growth.
You Never Own to Your Mistakes
A big ego is often just a facade that hides an insecure and vulnerable individual. So, they try to project an over-inflated sense of pride and confidence. Self-centered CEOs will never admit a bad decision, even when they are hit in the face with the facts. Instead of listening to reason and offering logical arguments for their decision, they will mock and put their critics down.
But, here’s the thing: identifying and owning your mistakes is key to growing. Studies show that those who believe that they know best are more prone to making mistakes again in the future.
You Prioritize Personal Recognition over the Company’s Success
You put blood, sweat, and tears into building your business, so, understandably, every negative comment feels like a personal attack. But, when you make decisions based on how they reflect on you rather than how they affect your business, then the consequences might be severe.
Me-focused CEOs think that they should project a strong image all the time. While that may leave an impression on your employees, this strategy will not work with your customers. Being disrespectful with one of your clients after they left a negative comment on your social media can jeopardize your business’ future. There is no room for personal power plays when it comes to building a company.
Entrepreneurs need many skills to build successful companies. And, yes, a bit of confidence is required to withstand the hardship that will come your way. But, when you put your ego above everything else and you focus on being seen as the alpha dog and getting people to follow you at all costs, then that’s a recipe for disaster right there.
The problem is that it can be difficult to realize when you are a bit egocentric. That’s why you should have a mentor by your side to tell you when you’re in the wrong. And, I am pretty darn good at doing that.
Don’t hesitate to reach out and ……