The EGO Has Landed – In Your Workplace
We spend on average a third of our daily lives in the workplace. Many of us have little choice but to work to live, while others more fortunate, work for them is a vocation, they live to work – whatever your position is, the dynamics within the workplace will have a definite effect on you to a greater or lesser extent and moreover the fortunes on whether the enterprise is one of sustainable success, a constant struggle or inevitable failure will rely on the what, where and who rule. Our choice of work, where we work and with whom we work with, carries with it significant importance.
So what if the third of your 24 hour day is filled with the unabashed power of the EGO. We all have come across this 'me me me' emotion, one that seeks out and demands attention and approval (constantly); seeks to dominate and control, whose self importance is so very important that all else around it is just a time-lapse blur!
Ego with unbridled power can prove to be business critical for all the wrong reasons, and for its host and for those who are its (your nearest) target, may even pose a health risk. So how do you cope with this penetrable quality found in some individuals when you are daily confronted with it?
Ego by itself can prove useful, for example, in a fee generating sales environment, ego drives its host competitively onwards and upwards through sheer force of will and the desire to be first!! Ego in many ways can feed and inspire a winning mentality – sportsmen and women will possess it as will most people seeking a life of celebrity. The shrinking violets of our world will not likely venture into the domain held by Mr and Miss Ego, and by the same token may not share much of the rewards as a result. So ego has its merits.
Ego too is a quality that is embodied in many leaders of industry and commerce; it is often what got them there in the first place – even if some lesser mortals were pushed aside along the way up. Ego however will not work so well in the classroom the Emergency Room or chapel of prayer etc.
I’ve found that someone in possession of an ‘uncontrollable’ ego is a little like a runaway train blindfolded… it will keep on hurtling to wherever and dare anything or anyone get in the way! The STOP sign simply does not get switched on.
They do not take kindly to being challenged; will unlikely admit defeat (even in defeat) and are prone to impulse. If you are able to back them (those who play the game wisely will do or at the other end of the scale are simply afraid not to) then you’ve got them onside – well at least until you no longer serve their ego interest. They certainly can be hard work, create emotional tidal waves, affect a positive ambiance and deter you from commuting from the sanity and security of your abode to their lair of command and control.
Ok, allow me to offer a few pointers here… Ego channelled correctly is charismatic, gets things done, makes things happen, can be a source of inspiration, is infectious and can be an important quality in successful Leadership as I have previously outlined for today’s fast moving commercial world – if channelled correctly. If not…
But ego is often a façade for something that may be missing; it may help the host to manage his or her day – having control by ensuring they are the focus of everyone’s attention offers control and if you are in control, you can better dictate and drive the events and activities around you. Without that sense of being in the driving seat, the host may illicit a deep and private sense of unease and disquiet. Understanding that ego is very rarely the genuine face of its host must once again be emphasised.
Once you have this fact in your ‘getting through the working day’ mental tool bag, then you will be able to at least understand if not tolerate its effects. So with that in mind, if you have time and the inclination, try not to firm up any instant conclusions. We, all of us are definitely more than the sum of our presumed and known parts. The key is to know whether your part (self) fits into that oddly shaped space.
Many a mistake is made by many a person in allowing ego to run riot in the work place – the ego continues to land on the shop floor, in the open plan office, even in the canteen to dominate the day’s agenda. As highlighted, ego is an external quality that fills an internal void. It is not a zone marked ‘trespassers will be prosecuted’.
Ego will feed of its subordinates one by one, so don’t become one if possible. Remember you spend up to a third of your day in its presence, it is not what nature, commerce or I am sure you intended. If you can manage the ego because your mental tool bag is well stocked then great, but if it is becoming apparent to you that you are actually appeasing the emotion because it may make your life easier, it could be argued that you are undervaluing you own self importance and worth.
In the work place, open and honest communication is paramount; both up and down the reporting line and across the horizontal. So COMMUNICATE. Too often while the ego is prevalent in the workplace, little is done to disarm it with the required tact and understanding to alleviate the pressure it can cause. If you are tasked with managing ego, then your relationship skills will be tested.
Whether you are a purveyor of ego (you all know who you are!) or subject to it in the workplace – being aware of it, and its positive and negative effects and why it exists at all can make the difference between a 9-5 of idol gossip, volatility, insecurity, instability, a high staff attrition rate and rapid career transition, or to enjoying a productive, enviable and successful professional career and business growth.
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