Friday 18 June 2010

Big Ego Leaders

3D Team Leadership Arrow ConceptImage by lumaxart via Flickr
Big ego leaders are not the same as strong leaders. They are loud, outspoken, do millon things at the same time, however often the things they do are not linked to their business, but often designed to boost their personal brand. In fact I think that often than not, some big ego leaders are a threat to their business. I'm often surprised how that are praised just  because they are so visible.

Let's think through what big ego leadership brings to the table:
- confidence: That's the positive side of a big ego. Confidence is an essential part of a leadership. All great leaders had it, have it and will have it.
- promotion: Having a big ego forces the leader to be present everywhere and have opinion about everything. I think that's actually bad for the business, though many argue that any promotion is good. Take same visible CEOs of internet startups who have blogs, organise conferences, have opinion about everything. What about their business track records? Usually not so bright. Often they have one thing in common: they got lucky somewhere in the past, usually during the internet boom. Which is good in itself, but doesn't really makes them a good leader.

However there is one criteria that distinguishes good big ego leaders from bad ones. Steve Jobs or Larry Ellison comes to mind. They have a big ego, but the also have substance, they built business, not just self promotional platforms.

Trouble is that in my view quite often startups fall into the big ego trap. Either founders try to mimic the visible people with big egos or, even worse, think about hiring some sort of big ego leaders. Here I get nervous. Big ego means very little in terms of increasing the value of the business. Might be good for short term promotion, but that's about it.
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