Is your ego hurting your business?

by April Cummins

Being a bit narcissistic may benefit your company in certain moments. For instance, studies show that highly self-centred CEOs are better at taking initiative and driving innovation in moments of rapid change. However, there is a very fine line between confidence and an unjustified ego that ignores the facts. In this blog, I will go over the ways in which having an overinflated ego can hurt your business. 

Let me lay out a scenario:

  • You’re an entrepreneur with a bold idea
  • You’re committed and work diligently to build your business
  • You encounter various hurdles on this path to success, but overcome them with overconfidence
  •  You have a larger-than-life personality and take over any room the minute you enter
  • You are ruthless, self-centred, and always certain about what needs to be done next
  • You manage 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 an over-inflated ego can pull down a company’s revenue by 6% to 15% per year!

You MUST know the answers to every problem

You are the captain of your ship. 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 to have on your shoulders and you might think that admitting you don’t know something is a sign of weakness. In reality, that’s just your ego talking. 

A well-rounded entrepreneur knows when he needs help and is not afraid to ask for it. If there is one constant in building a business, it’s that you can never stop learning. Ignoring this can mean sabotaging countless opportunities for growth.

You never own up to your mistakes

A big ego is often just a facade that hides an insecure and vulnerable individual. They try to project an over-inflated sense of pride and confidence. Self-centred 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 their critics and put them down.

Here’s the thing: identifying and owning your mistakes is the key to growth. Studies have shown that those who believe 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. It’s understandable if every negative comment feels like a personal attack. When you make decisions based on how they reflect on you rather than how they affect your business, the consequences might be severe.

Self-focused CEOs think 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 a client after they have 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!

The bottom line

Entrepreneurs need many skills to build successful companies. Yes, a bit of confidence is required to withstand the hardship that will come your way, but this can lead to disaster when utilized to the extreme. When you put your ego above everything else and focus on being a “self-fulfilling alpha dog”, your work relationships will suffer, and so will your business.

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. Working with an outside business consultant such as myself can help you develop successful working relationships and use your confidence for good, not evil. Don’t hesitate to reach out!

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