Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Managing Ego in the Workplace

An individual’s ego can help in creating confidence, drive, and a healthy self-esteem; however, an over-inflated ego can cause issues in the workplace. Organizations with executives, managers, and/or team leaders who have problematic egos may experience low employee morale, limited creativity, and high employee turnover.

To understand how ego can impact you professionally, take an honest look at yourself to determine whether your ego has ever limited your success.

Signs that ego is getting in the way of workplace success:

• Needing to feel superior or self-important with other colleagues
• Desiring to always be the center of attention
• Seeking credit for every accomplishment or task
• Needing to dominate conversations and meetings
• Avoiding responsibility for errors
• Encountering difficulties working on a team
• Finding it difficult to listen to others
• Resisting other opinions or ideas
• Frequently using “I” instead of “we” when discussing work projects, ideas, etc.
• Viewing colleagues as competition
• Reacting defensively to constructive criticism
• Boosting self-importance by frequently putting down others’ ideas

Dealing professionally with large egos

It takes patience and creativity to work with individuals who have large egos, but it is possible. Following are some tips that may help.

Avoid arguments and competitive exchanges, which tend to be unproductive. Instead, if an issue can’t be discussed calmly, consider involving someone within your organization who can help facilitate the discussion and who has the power to move matters forward.

Recognize strengths in the other person and ask for his/her expertise in areas where those strengths come into play.

Look for ways in which differing strengths can complement each another.

Don’t be bullied. Speak up in a professional manner.

Most importantly, remember, another person’s unprofessionalism can make your professionalism, integrity, and humility shine.

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