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Ego in the Workplace

Taming Your Ego in the Workplace

When it comes to achievement, confidence is key. At the same time, the ego is typically a poor career coach that can torpedo your success. Here's how to tame your ego and prevent it from dictating your career decisions.

How it Hurts

Confidence is important in any competitive arena, especially when leadership is involved. It's perfectly fine to have conviction in your abilities; however, too much self-assurance can evolve into arrogance. Unchecked egos can be cancerous to an office culture, leading to resentment, conflict and a lack of teamwork. In the end, business suffers, along with your personal reputation among your peers and administrators.

Taming Your Ego

Unfortunately, it's not always easy for people to keep their egos in check, especially in office environments where praise and rewards are heaped on the most accomplished. Maintaining a healthy, realistic ego is really just an exercise in humility. The following strategies can help you cultivate a healthier mindset that will keep your ego from running the show.

Accept praise with a grain of salt. Centuries ago, victorious Roman military commanders returned home to glorious state-sponsored processions after victories in the field. Legend has it, as a slave held a golden laurel above the victorious leader's head, he would whisper: “You are mortal.” Remember that virtually no one succeeds without the support of others and that success is never guaranteed. By embracing humility, you can reduce the chances of a devastating fall.

Remember your shortcomings. It's never a good idea to ruminate over failures and weaknesses. That said, you can gain perspective by briefly reflecting on past missteps. This doesn't mean casting aside your positive outlook; it simply means reminding yourself that - just like everyone else - you are fallible. Use this strategy whenever you find yourself frustrated over a co-worker's oversight or a subordinate's error.

Listen to your friends. From sports to politics to entertainment, it's not uncommon for people to get caught up in success. The ones who stay grounded rely on friends and family to keep their egos in check. As success accumulates, you are bound to find yourself surrounded by "yes" men and people pleasers who may be hesitant to tell you what they really think. Listen to the people who were there before you started achieving to give you a clearer vision of who you are.

Becoming More Dynamic

There's no doubting that confidence can fuel accomplishment. In fact, studies suggest that confidence may be even more important that ability . The trick is to leverage your confidence when it's needed and shut it down when it becomes destructive. You can do this by striking a dynamic balance based on the situation at hand.

In the modern business world, complex situations and rapidly shifting circumstances can demand quick, agile responses. Sometimes, you may need to adopt a forceful position. Other times, you may need to sit back and let things play out. Whenever you find yourself on end of the ego scale, try to have enough self-awareness to bring yourself back to a centered state. This won't just make you a more tolerable figure at your job; it may also improve your health and overall well-being by reducing stress and improving your peace of mind.

Our caring counselors can help you cultivate effective strategies for coping with life's greatest challenges. Contact us today!