Ego and Confidence in the Workplace

Workers writing while boss looks on

There are important differences between ego and confidence, especially if you are a leader. One of the most notable differences is that confident people want to be successful while those with big egos are more concerned with looking successful. Let’s take a look at ego and confidence in the workplace and how, as leaders, one will promote growth and increase your contributions to the organization and one will have the opposite effect.


Ego actually stems from a feeling of insecurity and lack of self-confidence. Leaders with oversized egos don’t really care about learning anything new. They often make things about them, so when an employee brings up any issue, a leader with an ego tends to respond by downplaying the actual problem and bringing up their own “bigger” issue. Since the ego operates out of self-interest, those with an ego problem seek validation at all costs in order to be seen as “right.” Leaders with egos are resistant to feedback and have no interest in realizing they need to be a better listener.

Managers who allow their egos to take precedence over their ability to lead far too often alienate team members because of their attitude. This causes them to fail to see the bigger picture, which can affect morale and productivity. Importantly, it can also erode trust because employees will think twice before bringing difficult matters to their supervisor if they know those concerns won’t be adequately addressed – or in many cases, even heard – in a safe space.


There is a fine line between being too confident and being seen as arrogant and having less confidence and being perceived as a pushover. Confident leaders appreciate hearing the perspectives of others. They practice empathy and compassion, while still leading with strength. Because leaders with confidence don’t have an all-consuming need to appear perfect, they are happy to learn from others. Confident leaders don’t associate being right with their self-worth and understand that different perspectives and the experience of others are valid; they are open to hearing what their team members have to say. Indeed, they encourage open and honest communication from everyone with whom they interact.

Confident leaders are taken more seriously and are, therefore, respected by their workers, as well as by others in management. Workers who respect management are more motivated to perform and often achieve their assigned tasks with a better outlook.

Next Steps

Ego persists because those concerned with it deeply attach themselves with their ideas and remain closed to new and different ideas and viewpoints. Solutions aren’t a priority as much as having their own positions being heard and acknowledged are. Too much ego stunts growth in both leaders and their organizations. It actually puts leadership at risk.

Greeting change or the unexpected without resistance will put you, as a leader, in a better position to handle next steps. You’ll have positioned yourself as a leader who is approachable to her employees and as someone they can trust. If you’re ready to take the first steps toward success and ensure you are confident in the workplace and not allowing ego to get in the way, let’s talk it through together. After all, if we don’t work on our leadership skills, how will we ever learn from our mistakes and improve?

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