One of the biggest barriers to people working together effectively is the human ego. When people get caught up in their ego, it erodes their effectiveness. That’s because the combination of false pride and self-doubt created by an overactive ego gives people a distorted image of their own importance. When that happens, people see themselves as the center of the universe and they begin to put their own agenda, safety, status, and gratification ahead of those affected by their thoughts and actions.
That’s a deadly combination in today’s business environment where organization’s need people to work together collaboratively to meet the ever increasing expectations of customers.
The good news is that there is an antidote according to Ken Blanchard, best-selling business author and co-founder of The Ken Blanchard Companies. Here are four tips from Ken to help you identify an overactive ego and put it back in its place if it has been getting out of hand.
- Recognize that it’s not about you. The first way to recalibrate an overactive ego is through humility. In organizations, humility means recognizing that work is not all about you; it’s about the people you serve and what they need. For leaders, this means seeing your job as creating and maintaining a motivating work environment that engages employees so they can engage customers.
- Be a learner. The second way to rebalance ego is by becoming a continual learner. Whether you’re a leader or an individual contributor, you need to be open to learn from other people and to listen to them. If people think they’ve got all the answers and don’t need any help, they’re not likely to be interested in collaborating. That’s why having an attitude that you don’t have all the answers and you’re open to learning is so important.
- Find a partner. Next, find somebody to work with. Find somebody who has the skills and energy in doing what you don’t know how to do yet. So often people are afraid to share because they feel they are going to be competing with each other.
- Build a shared purpose. Finally, the fourth key to achieving healthy organizational collaboration and minimizing individual ego is to rally people around a shared vision—something bigger than themselves. When everyone shares a clear sense of purpose, process, and practice, it’s amazing what can be accomplished.
There are many benefits to collaboration. The most noticeable is better customer service inside and outside the organization. In today’s fast-paced business environment you can’t afford the time to develop all of the competencies required to keep customers satisfied and business growing. Today, you have to collaborate with people both inside and outside your organization who have the skills and capacities that you don’t. The result is a one-plus-one synergy that equals a lot more than two, and provides the competitive advantage needed to serve customers, grow, and prosper.