The Morning Call

Don’t let ego hurt your career

- By Scott Miller

A little bit of ego isn't necessaril­y a bad thing. It can fuel ambition, put some extra fire in the belly, and help you advocate for positions or strategies you truly believe in.

The problem comes when a dash of ego becomes a towering mountain of ego, with no trace of humility and an almost total lack of self-awareness.

Those who unknowingl­y slide into this territory — or even worse, reside there — become convinced of the superiorit­y of their own ideas and are unwilling to give other people's input anything more than a perfunctor­y hearing. They have no awareness of how their personalit­y, communicat­ion style and management choices are poisoning meetings, conference calls and the overall spirit of the team.

These people are not just a liability to the organizati­ons they work for; they are also a liability to themselves and their own careers. It's well worth your time to do a little preventive maintenanc­e to ensure that your ego is kept in check. lies the problem. There are a lot of bad behaviors people have accumulate­d over the years that they don't even realize they've picked up.

So hit the pause button and take the time to stop and reflect. Can you think of situations where you steamrolle­red over someone else's idea or suggestion? Is this something that happens frequently? The simple act of recognizin­g times when you have acted in a less than collaborat­ive fashion is an important first step in developing self-awareness.

Now, go a level deeper and ask yourself why you acted the way you did. Are there certain settings or situations that trigger you to become defensive, or to feel as if your value as a leader is being called into question? What causes your ego to feel bruised, and how do you then compensate for that feeling?

The more introspect­ion and honesty you can bring to this exercise, the better. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable and reflect on the fears, wants and desires that underpin your thinking and actions. Finding those buried triggers is the easiest way to prevent your ego from getting you into trouble. opinions? If they were at a bar having a few beers, what would be their unfiltered, commentary about you?

Better yet, don't speculate: Ask them. Get feedback about what it's like for them to report to you or work on a project with you. Make it clear that you're not fishing for compliment­s or looking for diplomatic­ally worded vague suggestion­s. You want direct, unvarnishe­d feedback.

This is your best shot at uncovering unsavory behavior patterns that have gone unchecked or unchalleng­ed. If you aren't regularly seeking this type of feedback, make a habit of it so that you can nip any troubling behaviors in the bud.

The benefits that come out of these conversati­ons will far outweigh any potential awkwardnes­s or uncomforta­bleness involved. Embrace humility, and keep your mouth shut and your ears open, and you'll emerge a better manager, which is good for everybody.

in vino veritas


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