Leadership and the Word “I”

Originally posted on Healthcare Informatics

Have you ever interviewed a candidate and noticed how many times he/she used the word ‘I”? It tells a story and should give you a glimpse into their true DNA and their ego. This can be very damaging to your culture and your team.

In almost every case when I interview candidates’ and hear “I” over and over I usually head for the exit and try to end the interview. It’s just too painful and trust me “I’ve seen this movie before” and can tell you exactly how it will end. One of the telling things for me is the use of “I” screams that it really is all about them. Always! I look for words like “We” or “Team” or other words that convey a non self-serving message. Companies win or lose based on the way teams works together to accomplish their goals and overcome their adversities. Leaders win because they know how to motivate a team and get the most out of their people.

Teams can accomplish anything they believe they can regardless of the challenge. Most great leaders figured that out a long time ago. Narcissists accomplish very little as leaders. What’s more troubling to me is that they just “don’t get it”. You see the world is supposed to work “their” way because that’s the way they think. Sad. Very sad…

In the end they will never win.

Let’s face it – nobody wants to follow a leader when their favorite word is “I”.