Getting a Grip on Your Ego for Better Business and Relationships
Ego continues to make itself known to me in interesting ways as I dig deeper into the impact it has on our business and relationships. I am reading the book Egonomics for this deep dig.
“Ego is our silent partner—too often with a controlling interest”
~ Cullen Hightower.
Take a moment to digest that thought and it helps to explain the depth of this personality trait and the importance of learning how to have a proper balance of ego in our life.
In meetings we can all size up the egos in the room within minutes. Trust is eroded, sincerity is diminished, accuracy of assessments of others is clouded and judgment can take over. Ego can positively or negatively affect a discussion or decision in a matter of moments.
Understanding the early warning signs of ego, both for yourself and others gives balance to our behavior.
- Being Comparative – Someone once told me that you are always better than someone else, but you can always find others that are better than yourself. If you fixate on others too much, we give up our possibility to be better or at least as good as others. Being too competitive makes us less competitive, believe it or not. If you are strongminded on comparison you may turn your co-workers into competitors and in most cases, competitors are not effective collaborators. The value of collaboration is the rising of all boats in the water.
- Being Defensive – There is a fundamental difference between defending an idea and being defensive. The aim in defending an idea is to let the best-case win. Many great leaders look for a great debate to strengthen, change or improve their position. They sincerely want the best idea to win. The danger of being so defensive and stubborn is that it becomes personal and affects who we are. We all know people that are defined by winning or losing and that does not help one balance ego to their best interest.
- Showcasing Brilliance – Of course we share our talent and skills with others and that is not deemed showcasing. Showcasing brilliance is seeking to be the center of attention and improperly occupying time and energy. This desire creates a counterfeit god in our life and drive us to seek attention directed to our worth and shuts us off as contributors. A sad result is good ideas will never be heard when it is all about us.
- Seeking Acceptance – Hypersensitive to what others think, alters who we really are. We all need acceptance and recognition. The key is to be careful not to make all about us. If so our ideas and contributions will go unrecognized. Group applause and harmony will not always make for the best decisions. Good decisions come about because of spirited examination and differing points of views. Good leaders know they are good leaders even when people do not always agree with them because it is not about them.
Three key principles of egonomics that keep ego working as an asset rather than a liability:
- Humility – Controls the ability to open minds to listen and learn. Being able to seek what is best for the whole rather than the one. One is part of the whole and is about “we” rather than just “me”. Alcoholics Anonymous explains humility this way – requires not that we think less of ourselves, but that we think of ourselves less often. Humility should invade every space if we are to seek balanced ego in our lives.
- Curiosity – Takes over when humility is present, to discover new ideas. I am continual learner and often ask for other’s thoughts to gather new ideas and information. I am careful to explain that I am curious as to what others think at the same time expressing my ideas. I have found it is a great way to get others involved with the decision-making process with collaborative pooling of great ideas.
- Veracity – Is the routine pursuit of and observance to truth. It shines light on the truth hidden in the shadows of habits and comfort zones. To put it in simple terms it makes the truth that is hard to discuss vulnerable and moves to the reality of what is really going on rather than what we think in taking place.
Learning to balance our ego throughout the day can be hard. Just one minute out of an hour-long meeting can change the course of the whole meeting. After my coaching season this week I am committed to listen more, seek to understand, think about others and give ego its proper balance in my life. These moment must not be wasted.
Take time to check the balance of your ego this week.