A few years ago, I attended a conference presentation where the speaker started his talk by stating “As an executive director” you need to check your ego at the door if you want your organization to survive these turbulent times.” I thought his was the best presentation of the conference. I took to heart what he said. At that moment, I was with four other individuals, three of whom agreed with me in rating that the best presentation. The fourth individual thought that was the worse speech ever. Laughingly, he was an Executive Director.
The rest of us in the car nodded our heads at him and looked away. Boy, did that presentation both touch a nerve and go over that particular individual’s head. The word “hubris” just kept running through my head. This particular individual had an ego as big as the rest of ours combined. Yet he was no completely aware of that. Or at least tried to present himself as being a man of the people. And many people would fall hard for that facade; mainly because they wanted to.
People are so desperate for leaders that they willingly overlook obvious phoniness as long as it feeds their own egos. In a way these so-called leaders know that if they leave their egos at the door, people will stop following them. The public demands those enlarged egos. There is pretense at times for modesty and humility but there is a reason why Kim Kardashian is so wealthy despite the lack of any obvious skills other than being a walking inflated ego married to an even larger walking inflated-ego.
This past week, I was interviewed for a study where I was asked what organizations could do these days to improve community mobilization efforts. The first thing out of my mouth was that the leaders of these organizations need to check their ego at the door. I thought of how we need to keep the community needs in mind and strive to address those needs. Then as soon as I thought and said that out loud I thought of the state of our current affairs. Who gets ahead in life these days? Most assuredly a great percentage of said individuals have super inflated egos. It appears that their egos propel them forward feeding their upward mobility.
What if I could give them all a pill that would shake the hubris right out of them and deflate their egos a tad bit? What would a day in our world look like if all inflated egos were deflated for 24 hours? Well, for starters there would be no reality television. That’s a plus in my book. There would probably be no political campaign stops. Maybe we could accelerate the political campaign season and vote on just the issues? However, where would be the fun in that? Most people follow political campaigns as a blood sport. Many individuals will profess to hate negative political ads and campaigns yet the data shows that they do work. A day without egos would probably be a day with very little to no social media postings. Where would all the selfies go? Would people pick up the phones and actually talk to each other?
I am not too sure what this day would look like if we were to distribute such a pill. Who would I rally against if there were not ego-maniacs over populating my space? They do provide a great target.
No ego for a day? Seems we would be walking zombies. Where’s the fun in that?