Winning Essay, 
"Outstanding Leadership Award," Education 2.0 Dubai

By Stephanie Soetendal, Founder & CEO of Matrix Tutors

The Heart Based Leader Versus the Ego Based Leader



Leadership. Known word, unknown requirements. The outcome of becoming a leader is created through the journey of leadership. We seldom become masters through knowledge. We become masters through trial and error. Experimentation. Mistakes, reaction, and frustration. Mistakes, observation, reaction, and solution. The latter is the process of problem-solving of an evolved leader. The former is the initial reaction when leaders begin the process of becoming a leader.


A leader is created through experience and born when courage is the igniter of the matches we have within. A leader has two roads to choose. The first one, is a leader with a mission of evolving society and guiding humanity into higher realms. The second one, is a leader with a mission of glorifying themselves through the status of being higher than the rest. These are the two types of leaders; the growth based leader or the ego based leader. 

The ego based leader sees others as a means to their glorification. They have an innate fear of loosing their status of being above others. As a result, the ego based leader diminishes others and takes away their power. The ego based leader is ‘always’ right, and the rest should do as they command. Due to their closed-minded approach, ego based leaders have the stubborn mentality of not accepting change without realizing, for evolution to take place, change is a constant. Ego based leaders are a danger to society; they invoke a sense of enclosed superiority reserved only for them at the expense of the evolution and personal growth of those the ego based leader imprisons. 

The growth based leader is operating from the heart; they have a healthy confidence of knowing their self-worth and trusting their abilities. Growth based leaders operate with the mission to instill confidence and create an atmosphere of growth and evolution. These leaders are the inspiration and example to others of the rewards when they believe in themselves. Growth based leaders are open-minded and have the ability to say, “I was wrong.” They accept criticism and value subjective opinions because they understand, we all have unique perspectives that can contribute to the totality of progression.

When mistakes happen, they do not point fingers and blame. Growth based leaders analyze information, create solutions, take the responsibility, and implement a prevention plan. Growth based leaders makes others feel appreciated for their efforts and reminds team members mistakes happen. Consequently, the most important question they ask is, “what lesson can we learn from this?”

Growth based leaders create opportunities for growth; challenging others to elevate themselves through instilling courage of stepping into the unknown. They understand that guiding others into their infinite potential is the result of their experience, acquired wisdom, and passion being manifested into the lives of others. A  growth based leader rejoices and celebrates the growth of others because they know, that true success is when others are successful as a result of their leadership.

“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership,” Harvey S Firestone once said. The goal of a growth based leaders is to see humanity achieve their goals and dreams through elevating them into a higher realm. Growth based leaders are the example, the motivators, and the inspiration of the infinite potential we all carry within. 


“Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader…they set out to make a difference. It is never about the role- always about the goal.”