How to Chip Away at Your Ego

Joseph Stubblebine
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In the workplace, it is natural to develop a certain level of vanity about your accomplishments and experience. For managers, however, an inflated sense of pride can be a problem; your colleagues are unlikely to enjoy working with an ego. By finding ways to break down your ego, you can ensure that it doesn't prevent you from being open to new ideas and suggestions.

For managers and business professionals, a certain amount of ego is necessary. It helps give you confidence, so you can lead effectively and manage tricky situations without second-guessing. When your ego keeps you from considering input from other people, however, it can create problems with your colleagues and clients. If your coworkers have complained about working with an ego, it is a sign that you need to examine your behavior and self-perception.

When people criticize a colleague who is working with an ego, it is often because they feel ignored and undervalued. Thus, the first step in chipping away at your ego is to consider the people around you. As you are conducting standard business management activities, listen to your colleagues. Demonstrate respect for their ideas, ask thoughtful questions, and make a genuine effort to understand their points of view. In doing so, you can let your colleagues know that they are important and that their input is valuable.

If you have been guilty of working with an ego, you may find it difficult to admit your fears or shortcomings. To help break down your ego, take opportunities to humanize yourself in front of colleagues. Start by admitting when you are wrong; this simple step can help you feel more vulnerable, which goes a long way in getting rid of a problematic ego. Another helpful task is to ask questions when you are unsure of an answer or seeking help from colleagues.

According to a recent story from Entrepreneur magazine, many managers preserve their egos by choosing safe solutions; in doing so, they don't need to worry about business management failure. If your colleagues complain that you are working with an ego, make an effort to step out of your comfort zone. Summon the courage to try a new and innovative solution that your team members have suggested, for example, instead of going with a tried-and-true method. In doing so, you demonstrate trust in your team.

If you have been working with an ego, it will take time and effort to get on a different track. By developing an awareness of your actions, you can slowly take the small steps necessary to break down your ego. As a result, you will be a better, more effective manager.


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