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Ego and Three Lessons New Leaders Need to Know

Many new leaders have to learn these lessons the hard way - like I did.

“I was good where I was before. Why am I failing where I am now?” I was 30 years old and struggling as a new leader. I had success as an individual contributor. So much, in fact, that I skipped a level in the corporate ladder when I earned my first leadership position. It seemed like a natural fit, a successful salesperson with leadership experience and training from the military should do well in his new role. That’s what my company thought. And my ego did not need any convincing either.

That was my problem. My ego said:“I already know how to be a good individual contributor. Therefore, if I just tell everyone how I did it, they will be successful too! Simple. I’ll spend a few years spreading my knowledge at this level. Our team will excel and I will move up to the next level of leadership.”

Now in my mid-fifties, I realize that ego is a dangerous thing for a new leader. For me and a lot of other new leaders, ego will derail or at best delay your success. The accolades and recognition you get as an individual contributor may get you the promotion, but those past individual accomplishments are not a guarantee of success as a leader.

Three Humility Lessons New Leaders Need To Embrace

  1. Your Way Is Not the Only Way

Successful individuals developed processes and habits that helped them succeed. But because those worked for you, does not mean they are the only way to do things. Different personalities will find different ways to accomplish their tasks. When