Ego Free Leadership, by Brandon Black and Shayne Hughes ISBN 9781626343795
Four out of five stars
While there are many positive messages in this book, it often descends into a great deal of “touchy-feely” scenarios that can put you off. From the time of the formation of the first large social structures with a decision hierarchy, there have been conflicts in both the horizontal and vertical directions. Then being humans, there will antagonism, hurt feelings and overall emotional unhappiness.
These problems can be solved by being more in tune, but generally only partially. It is often the case that being more sensitive to someone’s feelings simply encourages them to be even more sensitive rather than the desired opposite of being a more effective worker. Therefore, it is also necessary for people to learn that a real or simply perceived slight is not automatically a cause for concern. Often the worker stewing on a slight is what causes the real loss of productivity.
This book is largely a combined autobiography of the principals with an emphasis on personal feelings, behaviors and actions considered incorrect, (none of which are sexual in nature or at the level of serious name-calling), eventually leading to their story of the success of their company, Encore Capital. The company acquires the debt of people in financial difficulties and attempts to work out solutions.
Despite the many good qualities of the stories, the main problem I have with the book is that it butts up against a fundamental reality. It is impossible to be an effective leader in high level positions without possessing a great deal of ego. Self-confidence is a necessity for people to be able to make decisions and risk failure. One constant of successful people is that they were willing to take the risk of failure and often did so before finally being successful. To take the position of “Ego Free Leadership” is untenable. Furthermore, without some internal conflict, organizations become complacent and are defeated in the marketplace.