We often talk about the problem of ego, as if the ego—whatever that may mean to each of us—is the enemy of good collaboration or sound decisions: We say and hear things like, “The problem is that there’s too much ego in the boardroom,” or “He’s got too much ego to listen to anyone else.”
But what if ego isn’t really an enemy? In fact, what if we just put aside the whole concept of ego for a moment and simply deal with what’s going on in the conversation right in front of us? We really don’t need some abstract concept like “ego” in order to collaborate together well. In fact, the concept often gets in the way of simply listening well and responding appropriately.
Instead of a problem to solve, you can think of ego as simply a reflection of our natural desire to feel successful. We’re not always skillful in that pursuit, but that’s something we can work on and get better at. (Whereas getting rid of our ego? Some say that it can take lifetimes.)
In your collaborative encounters, how do you avoid getting stuck in stories about a colleague’s ego so that you can just connect with them right here and now?
This is what Gill Tiney and I discuss in her recent “Being Human Hidden Depths” podcast. It’s a short video clip, and you can watch it here.