Ego vs EQ

Last month in our CEO Peer Group in DFW, I presented the concepts I learned from reading Jen Shirkani excellent book EGO vs EQ. This was a great time of reflection for our group members as they consider potential ego traps they may fall into.

Ego is a good thing until it causes us to “focus so much on ourselves that we ignore others.” When our ego is unchecked, we can fall into one of the eight “Ego Traps” Jen talks about in her book. She outlines the eight traps and shares signs that you may be stuck in one.

She also presents the antidote for each, directing us to Read (our own emotions), Recognizes (how others feel), and Respond properly. The ability to do all this takes a level of clarity and emotional maturity that must be nurtured and developed over time.

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Here are the eight traps Jen presents so you can see which one you tend to get stuck in. To keep this short, I’ll only present Trap #1 in detail, and you can click the book above to download my full outline and a worksheet to review with your team.

Trap #1 “Ignoring feedback you don’t like.”

Every leader needs to hear the truth, even if they don’t like the message. Executives and business owners need to ask themselves this question regularly “How am I doing as a leader, and how do I know I have an accurate answer?”

Here are some signs that you’ve fallen into this ego trap:

  • You think that you’re a good leader because you don’t receive much negative or constructive feedback.
  • You do not regularly ask for feedback and when people try to give it to you, you get offended and ignore or rebuff them.
  • You secretly think to yourself: “If they don’t like what I’m doing, they can go get a job somewhere else.” 

Jen then presents the antidotes you can use (Reading, Recognize, Respond) for each trap.

Trap #2 – “Believing technical skills are enough.”

Trap #3 – “Only surrounding yourself with people like you.”

Trap #4 – “Not letting go of control.”

Trap #5 – “Being blind to your downstream impact.”

Trap #6 – “Under-estimating how much you’re being watched.”

Trap #7 – “Losing touch with the frontline experience.”

Trap #8 – “Relapsing back to your old ways.”

  (Click here if you want my full outline and a worksheet to review with your team.)

I suggest you read the book and share this with your team, or contact me if you want me to come to share this with your leadership team. If you are interested in learning what your EQ is, I have an EQ assessment that provides great insights. 

Robert Hunt

Learn more about this book at

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