Ego is the enemy.

Jefferies Financial Group CEO Richard Handler and President Brian Friedman have a couple of gems in their latest note to clients and firm employee-partners.

Here’s 3 simple rules senior people need to live by

1. You have to eliminate all artificial barriers that can be used to insulate yourself from the real world. You need to remember you were junior once, and perhaps not that long ago. You need to respond to emails and calls in real-time and be blind to the seniority or title of the person reaching out. You need to maintain a body language that never says, “I’m too busy and important, what do you want?” Approachability is as important as competence. Ego is the enemy, pride in title hierarchy is pathetic and taking satisfaction in mentoring the next generation of good leaders is the most worthy of objectives.

2. You need to stay engaged in the trenches regardless of your length of service, history of success or job title. You can’t be of help to anyone in the firm if your skills are not current, your relationships are not maintained and expanded, and you are not learning and growing outside of your historical comfort zone daily. These may be the last things someone who has been very successful wants to hear, especially later in one’s career, but there is truly the finest of lines between being super senior and no longer relevant. Never forget this.

3. You need to have the best interests of the entire firm in mind, and not just prioritize your own career. It may appear contrary to common sense or sound too folksy or idealistic to be true, but in our careers we have witnessed the incontrovertible truth that if you act in the long-term interest of your business, you will undoubtedly get more responsibility, more cumulative compensation, more promotions and, most importantly, more satisfaction. Yes there may be short periods of time when more selfish behavior will appear the faster path to some success, but it is illusory and temporary. It is also very lonely.

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