Our Dilts/Delozier NLP University certified Master Practitioner starts in London next March. It’s still a while away, but the course is so full of good stuff that I’ll be sharing some material from it from time to time in these blogs.
I’m also working on my leadership book at the moment, so will link the two topics together.
One of Robert Dilts’ many insights into leadership is the concept of Ego and Soul. Soul is something innate, our life-force, our unique identity and our drive to express that identity in the world. Ego is essentially learnt – in order to achieve what Soul desires, we have to learn about the world and how it works. It is the structures we build within ourselves, not just cognitive but patterns of thought and emotion. There is also a sense that Ego has a more basic view of the world; Soul seeks higher things, while Ego goes for the short-term pleasures.
In the world of personal development, Soul might sound desirable and Ego rather self- centered, something we ‘should’ be overcoming – but this is not so. We need both.
From the Soul perspective, a leader needs to create a vision that others can align with and be inspired by. This is the pursuit of legacy, something beyond their own Ego and ambition. However, a leader that has only Soul can come across as disembodied, lacking a human element. And would such a person ever make it to leadership anyway? Leaders need ambition, drive and a healthy appetite for life in all its forms, elevated and basic. A leader, especially in business, who doesn’t enjoy the fruits of their own success to at least some degree, can seem overly self-sacrificing.
But on the other hand, a leader who is all ambition is unattractive. Such a person will not be able to inspire smart, intelligent people to work for them, or win round important allies.
When you have both Ego and Soul combined elegantly, you have a grounded ‘human’ leader who wants a prosperous future for themselves and their family, but at the same time can inspire others and has a hinterland connecting them to something bigger than themselves. It is this balance that creates true leadership.

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