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?