Why are leaders with a vulnerable ego dangerous?

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Why are leaders with a vulnerable ego dangerous?

Reluctance to admit mistakes, rejection of criticism, fear of change … A strong leader with fragile self-esteem can be a real big problem for the organization or the country he leads. Philosopher Jeremy Sherman explains how even a well-concealed vulnerability makes it difficult to make the right decisions.

He never admits a mistake

Every time everyone makes a mistake. Sometimes we trust our intuition too much, sometimes we simply incorrectly calculate our strengths or overlook important details. One way or another, no one is safe from mistakes. It is not in our power to foresee everything – however, we can learn a lesson from our mistakes if we analyze them.

But for a person with a vulnerable ego, admitting a mistake is tantamount to signing their helplessness. The stubborn unwillingness to accept responsibility for such people can be both conscious and unconscious.

A deep fear of weakness and loss of face leads such people to correct the story in their favor, without even realizing it. They can be sincerely convinced that their plans were frustrated by competitors, enemies or an unknown elemental force.

He is constantly defending

This can manifest itself in the form of a general “pricklyness”, a tendency to respond to real or implied attacks on one’s address. Often a person is so afraid of provocative questions that he uses the tactics of a preemptive strike. It does not matter if there is aggression in the question itself, the answer will be inadequately harsh if a person feels a threat in it.

“Were you upset about this morning?” “Of course not. I’m not upset. I am a rational person, I always approach everything with a cold head. What should I be upset with? ”As if a bad mood and any human emotion in general is a sign of weakness. A frank conversation with such a person is impossible. His alertness prevents him from reaching the bottom, and the wall he is building does not make it clear his true intentions.

He behaves inconsistently

Leaders with a vulnerable ego love to make decisions that no one expects from them. For example, publicly praise a team member or subordinate who made a mistake, or discuss an important decision with advisers, and then replay everything at the last moment. On the one hand, such inconsistency can play into the hands of the leader, creating him a reputation for deft tactics. On the other hand, in an environment where rules can suddenly change, people will feel fear, insecurity, and apathy. And this will inevitably affect the overall quality of the decisions.

When a child does not receive clear evidence of love, he grows incredulous

Partly in this behavior, his desire for security is manifested. He is afraid to be predictable, afraid that detractors will learn too much about him and take him by surprise.

The biggest fear of such a person is to become an object of manipulation, to allow others to use it for their own purposes. But there is confusion: what the leader perceives as pressure on him personally, in fact, may be a desire for dialogue. If we are talking about the interests of a large number of people, such an attitude can lead to disruption of communication within the system.

Why are leaders with a vulnerable ego dangerous?

He is insincere

A person with a vulnerable ego always carefully cares about how he will look in the eyes of others. As a result, everything he says about himself is like a scrupulously edited press release. Try to ask such a person about something personal – for example, what he is afraid of, what he dreams of, what he understands or does not understand.

Most likely, after his answers you will have a feeling of freshness and emptiness: as if instead of a live concert, you listened to a sequence of notes generated on a computer.

Another feature that betrays vulnerable “supermen” is the tendency to translate emotional issues into the plane of the mind. If you ask what your interlocutor feels about this or that occasion, he will most likely begin the answer with the words “I think”. If you try to return the conversation to the topic of feelings, then you run into a misunderstanding: “I’m talking about this.” The thing is that feelings for him exist only as well-considered positions.

He is jealous and incredulous

“Perhaps in childhood such people heard conflicting signals from their parents,” says Jeremy Sherman. – When a child does not receive clear evidence of love, he grows incredulous and suspicious. As a result, he experiences difficulties in relationships with other people. Fearing to trust and open up, such a person constantly tests partners and friends for loyalty. ”

He often considers criticism of his organization or associates, dissatisfaction with the policies pursued, as a personal attack

Having gained power, such a person can become even more suspicious. He often considers criticism of his organization or associates, dissatisfaction with the policies pursued as a personal attack. In such a situation, the feedback mechanism fails, and the system he leads becomes inflexible and inert.

He does not like change

The distance that separates the leader from the consequences of his decisions only aggravates the matter. He is used to assessing what is happening from the point of view of how much this threatens his position.

If things are not going as planned, his brain arranges this information in a scenario for him to understand the plot, treason or attack of external enemies. One way or another, change destroys the safe zone he has built and is therefore perceived by him as a danger that needs to be addressed.

He “infects” others

The internal vulnerability of a leader can be a problem for the entire organization under his leadership. Distrust creates distrust, and a culture of avoiding responsibility leads to a constant “translation of arrows” at different levels. The position “I am absolutely right” usually implies that someone nearby will necessarily be to blame. In such conditions, self-defense becomes the main concern of employees and colleagues. And usually it takes the form of an attack on someone who is weaker or is within reach.

Intrigues are constantly woven in such a collective (or power system), and any initiative fades and gives way to fear and revenge.

About the Author: Jeremy Sherman is a philosopher, author of articles on psychology.
Text: Anton Soldatov
Photo Source: Getty images

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