Striving for an Ego-free Business

Your ego is bad for business. So is mine… and quite frankly, it’s tough to keep a handle on it. We all have our struggles in this area (with the exception of the Dalai Lama, perhaps) so it has become the norm for egos to run rampant in our businesses and it’s easy to just let it happen.

How does the ego show up?

It thinks it knows best, all the time. It thinks we need to be there at the office constantly to handle issues. It doesn’t think anyone else is capable of doing our job. It wants to take credit for the successes of our business, and look for a place to lay blame when things go wrong. It cares more about being right, than getting the best result for our team.

Oh, and if your ego is reading this right now, it’s probably denying all of those things :)

Sad fact: we are not perfect beings. We all have egos, and we all need to pay careful attention to our thoughts, words and actions to see if the ego is at work, or if our authentic self is in charge.

How does our authentic self show up?

It wants to create harmony. It comes from a place of love, rather than a place of fear. It seeks to understand. It wants the highest good, for all concerned. It wants to lift others up and empower them. It knows everyone has value to share. It is compassionate, forgiving and calm. We feel relaxed and joyful when our authentic self is in charge.

How can we encourage the authentic self to take the reigns more? I love the book Change Your Questions, Change Your Life. It lays out a series of questions to ask yourself, whenever you’re feeling angry or upset. Once you notice the negative emotions, take a deep breath, observe yourself and ask questions like:

  • What assumptions am I making?
  • What are the objective facts here?
  • What do I want the outcome to be?
  • What is the other person feeling, thinking or wanting?
  • What is possible here? What are my choices?

I believe in this approach so much, I bought copies of the book for my entire management team and spent hours with them going through all the lessons in the book. I know it’s helped me and my leaders countless times in dealing with difficult situations. It encourages us to keep our egos at bay, and lets our authentic (loving, kind, helpful, patient) selves shine through.

How about you–what are your best tips for running an ego-less business?

21 Responses to Striving for an Ego-free Business
  1. Dobes
    January 10, 2012 | 10:04 pm

    Also check out the book Fierce Conversations I think you’ll like it.

    As for preventing the ego from running the show, that is a huge topic and a never ending journey.

    The best tip I can think of now is to recognise the ego when it is at work and distinguish it from yourself. Most of the noise in your head comes from the ego. The authentic thoughts come quietly and are easily dismissed if you aren’t tuned into them. But when you do listen you should feel inspired and alive. When you listen to the ego you won’t feel the same inner celebration.
    Dobes recently posted..Evolution of the EgoMy Profile

  2. Mihai
    February 1, 2012 | 9:43 am

    You’ve convinced me to buy this book. I cannot wait to read it. Because you recommend it to us, I’m sure it is a wonderful book.

  3. Nati
    February 1, 2012 | 10:18 am

    This book isn’t much. It only costs $16. I’m going to buy it!

  4. Brian
    February 1, 2012 | 10:43 am

    I have a really strong ego. I do not know how to fight against it. It doesn’t let me to do anything without his agreement.

  5. Vicention
    February 1, 2012 | 10:52 am

    Sincerely, I do not have any problems with my ego. I’m not at all a conceited person. I’m very lucky because of this, I guess.

  6. Carla
    February 1, 2012 | 11:55 am

    Thank you for this recommendation! I am going to buy this book too. I’m absolutely convinced that I am going to learn a lot of things reading it.

  7. Alexander
    February 1, 2012 | 2:19 pm

    I agree with you that we are not perfect. As you said we all have egos. Because of this we must be very careful at what we say and what we do.

  8. Sandu
    February 1, 2012 | 2:48 pm

    I am frequently dominated by my ego. I do not like him. He is bad! I must definitely start fighting against it!

  9. Debbie
    February 1, 2012 | 3:06 pm

    “Change your questions, change your life”. What a good title for a book! I’m very curious how this book is going to change my life.

  10. Fatiha
    February 1, 2012 | 3:23 pm

    Congratulations for this article! It is very useful and motivational. Well done and keep going!

  11. genea
    February 2, 2012 | 8:47 am

    Thank you so much for this recommendation! I must buy this book! I’m convinced I am going to win against my ego with this book’s help.

  12. Helen Bishop
    February 2, 2012 | 9:04 am

    Wow! You bought copies of this book for your entire team? It means that this book is amazing. I must definitely read it!

  13. Janine
    February 2, 2012 | 9:16 am

    I love your description about our authentic self. It indeed wants to create harmony. Well said!!

  14. porto
    February 2, 2012 | 9:34 am

    Is this book able to change my life? I want to know if it is worth buying and reading it. Please answer me!

  15. Mircea
    February 2, 2012 | 9:50 am

    I’m convinced that ego is bad for business. Ego is bad for everything. We do not think well when we are dominated by our ego and we tend to do mistakes which can hurt other people.

  16. Julien
    February 2, 2012 | 10:11 am

    I do not think there are many people who can see if the ego or the authentic self is at charge. This article is very useful. We do have a lot to learn from you.

  17. Kalvin
    February 2, 2012 | 11:30 am

    Can this book help me to get rid of my evil ego? Can this book change my life? I trust you and I am going to buy it. Wish me luck!

  18. Marina
    February 2, 2012 | 11:50 am

    Hello! I passed by to say congratulations! You’ve done an amazing job! Keep going with this!

  19. vera
    February 2, 2012 | 12:20 pm

    Thanks for the tips Natalie – your advice is very helpful. Maybe I will buy this book too.

  20. Bitman
    February 2, 2012 | 12:41 pm

    If you bought books for your entire team, you are very generous and kind. I admire you very much! Sincere congratulations for all you’ve done so far!!

  21. karlla
    February 2, 2012 | 1:21 pm

    Thanks Natalie – From now on, every time I notice negative emotions I am going to do what you said: I am going to take a deep breath and ask myself these questions.

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