Monday Musings

Ego Management

Every Monday morning the team at ConnectX, including an occasional guest, deliberate on a challenges of leadership and culture. These papers represent the output of our weekly discussions. They are sometimes pure musings, but sometimes we cannot resist airing recommendations. Primarily though, we intend to stimulate thought around issues that most leaders will face at some time or other. We welcome your feedback!

13 Aug '18

Ego Management

The Ultimate aim of the ego is not to see something but to be something

– Muhammed Iqbal

The word ego is frequently used to describe and ascribe the reasons and causes of someone’s behavior and often carries a negative connotation. Ego however, refers to a person’s sense of self-esteem and self-importance. It is what one thinks of him or her self and the value ascribe to themselves. Balanced egos, result from heightened self-awareness and honest evaluation of ones results. This makes for an authentic self.

An organization’s culture is made up of many individual egos’ that have to work in unison towards a common objective. Every meeting and every decision is full of mixed ego’s: some relenting and some shy.

Balancing your Ego
Uncovering ones authentic self for a balanced ego requires regular introspection, acceptance of feedback and release from fear-based motivation. It also requires one to develop an honest view of ones strengths, weaknesses and needs. One can also derive ego balance by identifying individuals who they admire and aspire to emulate as well as those they desire to uplift. The famous 1952 desiderata prayer by Max Erhmann puts it this way,

‘If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.’

Managing your Ego for Intent
Owning a gun and having power is fine: how you use it makes all the difference.

How people project their ego determines the outcomes for themselves and others . If a situation calls for the company to take on a big challenge, drive up motivation and conquer something, for example, the drivers need to project a big ego. A leader with a big ego will exude confidence in their vision and drive action from the team.

In dialogue situations, where empathy and participation from all is required, it is important to project a non-threatening ego.

Mindfulness
Mindfulness happens when an individual pays particular attention to what is happening around them at any present moment. It calls for an individual to put others before them in order to focus wholly. Often, we are consumed by thoughts about ourselves: stuck in our own world, only concerned about our own thoughts and perceptions.

Mindful individuals transcend ‘self’ and shift their attention to others in the present moment. The present moment consists of the people, the objectives and the context. Mindfulness enables one to read the mood as presented by verbal and non-verbal cues and to therefore select the strength of ego they need to project to achieve winning outcomes for all.

Awareness is the first step to achieving growth and change. Take to assess yourself and evaluate how your ego is affecting you’re your outcomes and take charge.

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