24 februari 2022

The Ego-trap for Leaders:
when it is not enough about the Self 

24 februari 2022

The Ego-trap for Leaders:
when it is not enough about the Self 


Leadership is a challenging journey filled with high demands, relentless pressure, and the need to make tough decisions. In the midst of these challenges, leaders often face a lack of appreciation, a feeling of loneliness, and doubts about their own effectiveness. In such moments, self-awareness and self-compassion become essential tools for leaders to navigate their path with resilience and authenticity. 

The Struggle for Appreciation

Leaders pour their hearts and souls into their work, dedicating themselves to the success of their teams and organisations. However, as they climb the ladder of success, appreciation often vanishes. This can lead to feelings of disheartenment, self-doubt, and questioning one’s own worth. In these moments, leaders must turn inward and cultivate self-awareness to understand their own needs for validation and appreciation.

Embracing Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the foundation of effective leadership. It involves being attuned to your thoughts, emotions, and reactions, as well as recognising your strengths and limitations. By developing self-awareness, leaders can identify when they are seeking external validation and learn to address their own insecurities and doubts. This self-understanding enables leaders to respond to challenges with authenticity and make decisions aligned with their values.

The Power of Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is the practice of extending kindness, understanding, and forgiveness to oneself. It is a powerful tool for leaders to navigate through moments of self-doubt and lack of appreciation. Instead of berating themselves or seeking validation from external sources, leaders with self-compassion offer themselves the same care and understanding they would provide to a valued team member. By embracing self-compassion, leaders can cultivate resilience, maintain their confidence, and find the inner strength to lead effectively

Acting on Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is not just a mindset; it is a call to action. Leaders who practice self-compassion actively take steps to meet their own needs for appreciation and belonging. They seek opportunities for self-care, engage in activities that bring them joy and fulfilment, and surround themselves with a supportive network. By prioritizing self-compassion, leaders replenish their emotional reserves, enhance their well-being, and become better equipped to lead with empathy and authenticity.

Cultivating Resilient Leadership

Leadership resilience is built on a foundation of self-awareness and self-compassion. By developing these qualities, leaders can navigate the challenges of their roles with grace and authenticity. They understand that leadership is not just about achieving external success but also about nurturing their own well-being. Through self-awareness and self-compassion, leaders can effectively manage their own doubts, fears, and need for appreciation, allowing them to show up as their best selves and lead with confidence and purpose.

Leadership is a journey that demands self-awareness, self-compassion and resilience. When leaders feel a lack of appreciation or doubt their effectiveness, it is essential to turn inward and cultivate self-awareness to understand their own needs. By embracing self-compassion, leaders can meet those needs with kindness and understanding, fostering their own well-being and resilience. Through self-awareness and self-compassion, leaders empower themselves to navigate the challenges of leadership with authenticity, leading to greater effectiveness and fulfilment. In requires attending to your own feelings and needs. It involves a journey of self-discovery, embracing self-compassion, and nurturing the resilience needed to lead with unwavering confidence and compassion.

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About the Author

Miranda Berkhof is an International Transformation Facilitator & Leadership Coach

At the core of Miranda Berkhof’s work lies leadership transformation. Miranda is deeply committed to guide leaders on their personal and professional journeys.  

With over 15 years of experience in developing leaders and transforming organisations, she understands that business/system transformation requires a personal transformation of leaders. 

In her words: “Life is a transformational journey, and so is leadership. In both, we are invited to learn, to add new discoveries through experience and to gain deeper insights about ourselves, and about how we relate to others and the world at large. Often, the best we can do is get out of our own way and allow ourselves to embark on the journey.”

May you live your best life and discover the new leader within,



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