Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Ego blocks growth

When I was getting involved in leadership, I did some soul-searching and asked myself why. At a certain point, leadership becomes the natural progression in the workplace and in life, yet misconceptions abound on what true leadership is.

So Ryan Holiday's Ego is the Enemy is an easy-to-read manifesto on how our egos get in the way of genuine leadership, collaboration and moving organizations forward.

I respond to Holiday's books because they're quick and have a lot of truths in them. He is a young, accessible philosopher of sorts and is part of the Daily Stoic. In a way, Holiday's books are like Patrick Lencioni's books because they feel easy but a lot of leadership truth is in them.

Several key concepts pop up in Ego is the Enemy, and one is how we must live with purpose. Too many people are not even aware of how they spend their time and money, and we must be deliberate in what we do. True leaders likely will be treated poorly at some point and may be degraded. But if we live with purpose, and I would add honesty and integrity, the people who degrade us are actually doing that to themselves.

Being a lifelong student and talking and thinking less while doing more also are key tenets in Ego is the Enemy (2016). I could not agree more with this more. I've been trying to talk less for years. Not easy for this Polack.
One of Holiday's strengths is his aphorisms. He often puts deep concepts into a pithy phrase, such as "what is rare is not raw talent, skill or even confidence, but humility, diligence and self-awareness."

Another gem is: "Most trouble is temporary ... unless you make that not so." I also like: "What is most obvious but most ignored is that perfecting the personal regularly leads to success as a professional, but rarely the other way around."

So true. I have found that many workaholics are escaping their actual personal lives. These folks will be capped off in the workplace because they typically face something that holds them back and needs reconciling. There is much more to Holiday and this book, and here is a lengthier review of it.

But irony runs rampant with Ego is the Enemy because Ryan Holiday is a personality himself with 269,000 Twitter followers. He is only 32, but, yowsers, he seems to boast a lifetime of wisdom. He kind of reminds me of the character Ryan from The Office, but eh, maybe I'm just prejudiced because I'm a Gen Xer and he's a Millennial.

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