A few years back I had the good fortune to meet Bruce Heilman in a University of Tennessee graduate course. Bruce was president of the University of Richmond from 1971 – 1986 and is credited with elevating that institution to one of national prominence. I won’t go into the story here but what he accomplished is remarkable. Today, Bruce is 83 years old but has the energy of a 40 year old. Simply put, he is a remarkable leader.

I’ve visited with Bruce since that first meeting at UT. Not long ago, he spoke at one of our GGTS Workshops.

Among the questions I have asked him, the one about ego still resonates with me. My question was simply, “Tell me about the role of ‘ego’ in leadership. How much does a leader need?”

His wise words still reverberate in my head. “A leader needs a tremendous ego,” he said with the omnipresent twinkle in his eye. “But the ego can’t be for self, it must be for the institution.”

If you ever wonder how you can enhance your leadership effectiveness – re-read that answer.


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