The Ego Based Leader vs. The Servant Leader

Peter PsichogiosLeadership

Employees are drawn to your company because of the perks, culture and reputation, but they will stay because of the leadership.

The most successful leaders understand that their primary role is to enable their people to be great. This means developing your people and removing obstacles for them to serve customers in a fast, friendly, hassle-free way. Watch this quick video about how to become a Chief Obstacle Remover.

I have worked with leaders to help them become more effective for the past 30 years in over 70 countries and 16 languages. What I have learned through these experiences is that the world is filled with two types of leaders.

Two Types of Leaders: Servant Leader & Ego Based Leader

The first type of leader is the Servant Leader. Servant Leaders, remove obstacles that get in the way of their employees doing their best work. They develop their team so they give more because they want to, and that discretionary energy is focused on delighting their customers.

These leaders assume and operate under the principle that the individuals on their work team would rather be awesome than ordinary. These leaders have figured out they cannot do everybody’s job on their team and understand that their job is to help their team excel with the customer.

The second type of leader is the Ego Based Leader. Ego Based leaders have limiting beliefs about the individuals on their team, and are constantly trying to protect and prevent those individuals from “messing up” their career.

These leaders often try to do everyone’s job, micro-manage and do not develop their team because they assume they will not be with them long anyways, or they don’t trust them to do the job the “right way.”

Check out the table below for some more characteristics of Ego Based Leaders versus Servant Leaders. This list can be useful for both job seekers and leaders to recognize the characteristics they want to associate/be associated with.

Ego Based Leaders

Servant Leaders

Focus on themselves and their career growth

Focus on developing their employees

Intimidate and threaten their employees

Recognize and reward employees

Micro-manage projects and roles

Provide direction and guidance

Are closed off and reserved with employees – business only

Get to know employees beyond the job so they can personalize their experience

Rigidly follow policies and procedures

Are flexible with policies – allow employees to make good decisions within their scope of values

Keep their employees in the dark and on a ‘need to know’ basis

Communicate openly and effectively with their employees

Are constantly dealing with customer retention

Have more satisfied customers

Have high turnover rates and are continuously losing money on re-training and hiring replacements

Have employees that stay longer and refer other top performers to the organization

Leaders must remember that if they don’t focus on serving their talent with development opportunities and ongoing recognition, they are missing the opportunity to tap into their discretionary energy. If a leader needs a bottom line reason, employees who do not feel adequately recognized are more than twice as likely to quit within the next year.

Remember, if service is beneath you, then leadership is above you!