Leave your ego at the boardroom door

The key to high performing executive teams

“By recognising and accepting my own ego-patterns I have been able to transcend them and transform my leadership style”

On 11 January 2023, we were featured in The Daily Telegraph, a national newspaper in the UK. The short article (below) discussed the causes and impact of ego-based behaviours in the boardroom. We specialise in creating more functional boards and developing executives. Our approach has been developed over many years of international experience and through facilitation of many difficult conversations. We currently work with BMW Group, Roche, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Samsung, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Continental, Miele, Zeiss and many others.

On this page you will find the article as well as further information on this topic:

Read the article (The Telegraph, 11 January 2023)
Free online assessment: Does your boardroom have a problem?
Additional resources
What our customers say about our work

To discuss how we approach developing senior teams please get in touch: info@strategicleaders.com

Our boardrooms have a problem…

Leaders unconsciously change their behaviour as their career progresses towards board level. Thor Olafsson, author of bestselling book Beyond Ego describes the issue this way:

“It deeply impacts the way that we lead others, and over time, it creates a subtle, subconscious belief that in order to be successful and effective, we need to lead with our egos at the forefront.”

As a result, boardrooms can become dominated by clashing egos which inevitably leads to team dysfunction and weakened business performance. The consequences of this on the culture of the entire organisation can be profound.

Strategic Leadership, a consultancy which specialises in creating more functional boardroom teams, have identified the three most common problems:

Segregated, territorial functions – executives have responsibility for an entire business area and therefore, driven by ego in board meetings, each fights for the needs of their area at the cost of the whole. Instead of working as a single team towards a common overriding goal.

Lack of critical, direct, honest or open feedback due to the seniority of the executive – The more senior you are the less feedback you get and the less honest people are with their feedback meaning it can be incredibly hard for executives to accurately self-assess their own performance or their impact on others.

At this level executives are often disconnected from the culture where the work gets done – executives find their time dominated by monitoring, tracking and reporting the performance of their business area. Over time, this detachment from a collaborative working environment manifests in weaker interpersonal relationships. Executives should focus on systematic engagement of the people who do the work.

If you recognise any of these problems then do not lose heart! Thor Olafsson has the positive belief;

“It’s possible to turn the current leadership situation on its head, creating a dynamic executive team that is more purposeful, compassionate and engaging.”

Using this approach across the board, teams perform more effectively than when they were managed under ego-based leadership strategies. The track record of Strategic Leadership to shift the culture of executive teams is impressive, they have supported senior leaders from leading multinationals in making this journey – and making them highly successful.

Does your boardroom have a problem? Take this quiz:

Additional resources

The Inner Compass – Our Inner Compass model underpins the work we do with executive teams. It takes people far deeper than they have gone before in a work environment. The results of working through this as a team are profound and transformative. Read more about the model here

Beyond Ego (international bestseller) – After coaching executive for many years Strategic Leadership’s CEO Thor Olafsson distilled his learning into a practical guide to moving beyond ego. The book navigates the Inner Compass model and gives activities and exercises you can do to gain great insight into your own ego and ego based behaviours. Released in 2022, the book quickly became a bestseller across multiple categories and countries including North America. See the book here

Beyond Ego website – This website exists to help champion the cause of leading beyond ego. It aims to help leaders around the world to identify and move beyond their own ego patterns. It is packed full of free resources, video and article. Visit the website here

Lencioni’s Concept of Team 1 and 2 – The principle presented in this video is one of the cornerstones of taking a team away from individual ego behaviours toward becoming a truly high performing executive team. Patrick Lencioni (best known for the 5 Dysfunctions of a team) presents the idea in under 3 minutes here

Leadership Cube White Paper – A leaders become more conscious of their impact on others if fundamentally changes their view of many commercial factors they then interact with. The leadership cube model provides a basis for navigating a more balanced, sustainable and engaging leadership approach. Read more about the cube here

What our customers say about our work

“By recognising and accepting my own ego-patterns I have been able to transcend them and transform my leadership style”

“While I struggled to explain the effect that this has had on me, the people in my life can feel it. At work and privately I am calmer and more focused on making meaningful and lasting impact, rather than getting worked up about short term grievances”

“This has been a deep exploration of my inner workings”

“I got to know my colleagues better under stressful situations and it made me aware of how each person reacts to specific situations. Also, to be more sensitive to teammates signals when things are not ok for them”

“I realised that under pressure we still are a high functioning team and that we take care of others but we still have a lot to learn, and this helped me see some weak spots in myself and in the team”