Introverts, it’s time to let go of the ego ..9 min read

by | Blog |

We live in a society full of expectations which create several “fears”: fear of failure, fear of being judged, fear of getting emotionally hurt, fear of being seen as weak, fear of being observed, and the list goes on … However, how do all of these fears relate to becoming a great Introvert leader or employee of any kind ?

The toxicity of the ego

 

“Your idea or opinion of yourself, especially your feeling of your own importance and ability: Cambridge Dictionary. 

We all have an ego but the size of it will depend on the person and the situation. Only Sharing accomplishments, past successes and hiding mistakes and failures are, actually, a sign of low confidence. Why? Because, if one is not afraid to share his mistakes and other obstacles he had to overcome to succeed, it’s mainly because of a fear of being judged, or even, seen as being “weak”.

One way to figure out if you have an “ego” issue, which is nothing to be ashamed of because of the constant pressure from peers and the society, is to ask yourself this question shared by Fast Company “What was the need that drove you to act egotistically? Did you feel threatened or devalued?”. Acknowledging the issue will jump-start the process of resolution.

When we look at the best leaders throughout history and motivational speakers who bring people to action, we can see that most of them have shared their personal stories: the good and the bad. The same should go for leaders, and there are different reasons for that.

Vulnerability is key

According to René Brown, A vulnerability researcher, we can describe the notion as follows, it is ” the combination of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” Isn’t it what a leader should be “comfortable” with? Leading a team through uncertain situations, taking risky (may be calculated but still risky) decisions, and having a high Emotional Intelligence, are all aspects of powerful leadership.

What does showing vulnerability mean? It basically means “being yourself and connecting with others”. Accepting that mistakes are part of the process and that asking for forgiveness is not a weakness. Listening more instead of talking about oneself accomplishments to learn more about others doesn’t mean that we are not worthy.

Create a genuine connection with others and build trust

 

Using personal story-telling and showing humanity ultimately creates genuine connections with others. Why? Because we feel that we are not the only one going through these kinds of situations and ultimately relate more to the leader.

There are actually brain chemicals reactions which justify this connection. According to Paula Niedenthal, from the University of Wisconsin and professor of Psychology, we tend to observe and then “echo” others expressions, actions, and gesture. Just like when you instantly want to smile when someone smiles at you, we are social creatures seeking for social integration and relatability.

Have you ever heard of the “CV of failures? It went viral a couple of months ago on the web when Johannes Haushofer, an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University published his CV of failures online.

Funny enough, he even included the fact that this CV is even more popular than its actual “Formal” CV and called it a “meta-failure”.  This doesn’t only show confidence but also proves that successes usually come from failures …

Inspire others, you did it and so they can

By showing some vulnerability, leaders don’t only create a genuine connection with others they also tend to inspire them. “If he could do this, maybe I could achieve the same goal too!”. There are many great examples of natural inspiring leaders but I will particularly talk about Jack Ma.

Jack Ma isn’t ashamed and is actually pretty proud of what he had to go through to be the person he is now: one of the richest men in China.

During an interview for the World Economic Forum, he shared the several rejections he had to deal with during his career. To give you an example, he was the only one in a pool of applicants to be rejected by KFC, and was rejected 10 times by Harvard Business School.

Lifetime Learner

 

The vulnerability is not only an asset for better communication and team management, it is also great for anyone who wants to thrive in life. Acknowledging our own flaws and weaknesses pushes us to be lifetime learners and to keep improving our skills. Having a big ego just hinders potential self-development growth.

In a nutshell …

Being humble is a great way to build trust with your team, co-workers, and any other public you are addressing a message to. However, vulnerability should not be confused with a total disclosure of one’s life.

We still live in a complicated world where some people may use the information against us and vulnerability can quickly go from showing humbleness to someone with low self-esteem. Using vulnerability to support a message we want to convey through story-telling or personal experiences, is a great way to build a genuine connection with people we are talking to.

If you have been reading my articles for several weeks, you must know that I love sharing some interesting videos. If you want to learn more about the impact of vulnerability on a broader spectrum, I invite you to watch the following Ted Talk by Brené Brown, a Vulnerability Researcher, who shares her findings with humor and authenticity.

Mama Sow
Introvert blossom mentor. I am here to help you introverts to crush it at the office and shift your mindset around introversion.
26 years old and in love with learning more about human behavior, psychology and philosophy.

Mama Sow

Introvert blossom mentor. I am here to help you introverts to crush it at the office and shift your mindset around introversion.
26 years old and in love with learning more about human behavior, psychology and philosophy.

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