Leave your ego at the boardroom door

The key to high performing executive teams

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: