Most small business owners need a good amount of ego to have the courage and commitment to start a company. Without a lot of positive early reinforcement, they need to have the confidence that comes with a strong ego to succeed. However, as the company grows, this oversized ego can also get in the way and ultimately hurt the company. Here the symptoms and what should be done to remedy the situation:
1. You only hire people worse than you
Your ego wants you to be the smartest person in the room. It gets in the way of having the best and brightest at your company. As a result, as an “A” player, you only hire “B” players. Your “B” players hire “C” players. The company’s talent pool quickly collapses from the top down. Instead: If you always realize that you are the smartest person in the room, you are doing something wrong. Hire people that are better than you at things where your skills are weak.
2. You think you have the golden touch for everything
Because you have been very successful in one area, your ego drives you to conclude that you can be successful at anything. As a result, you foolishly take big and unnecessary risks with little return. Instead: Always expand into new areas cautiously by doing research and hiring the talent needed where you truly don’t have the expertise. Approach each new area with the discipline of a startup.
3. You never ask for help
Since your ego tells says you are the greatest, you don’t need anyone else’s advice. This is ridiculous since no one can run a company by themselves. As a result, you make every decision alone without the benefit of an outside prospective. Instead: Always ask for help and other opinions on important decisions. This can be immediate managers, staff or peers outside your company. Other perspectives are always critical for making a timely decision.
4. The company becomes all about you
Your ego tells you that the company can’t exist without you. Not only does the business’ brand become you, but it prevents building a loyal team. As a result, you can never retain employees and the cost of replacing them is crippling the company. When the business is about you, it also reduces its long-term value. Instead: Actually “care” about who works for you. Get to know what drives them and how you can help meet their goals inside the company. Realize the value of any business is its team members.
5. It’s always you vs. them
Your ego drives the mentality that people are either completely loyal to you and agree with everything you say or they are against you. There is no in between and as a result, employees are afraid to disagree. You shut down any critical feedback. Instead: Realize the best results come from collaborative efforts inside and outside the company.
6. You never check the numbers
You think that you know it all in your head and that the financial numbers will just reinforce what you already understand (so you don’t review them). As a result, you make assumptions that are not true and can lead the company in the wrong direction. Instead: Review the financial statements every month and act on real reported data!
7. You practice blamestorming
Your ego always tells you that no matter what happens, it is never your fault. You always go looking for someone else to blame which feels like vindication. As result, you never take the responsibility to what happens like a true leader should. Instead: Don’t spend a lot of time in the blaming process, but find out why things happened and how to prevent them from happening again.
Is your oversized ego crippling your business?
Barry Moltz helps small businesses get unstuck. He applies simple, strategic steps to facilitate change.
Barry has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 20 years. He is a small business speaker, radio host and author of four books. As a member of the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, he has spoken to audiences of up to 20,000 people. He is a regular guest on business radio and cable TV programming.