Managing egos in the office

Egos are like many things in life: best in moderation. It’s healthy to have self confidence and perfectly acceptable to take pride in one’s work or bask in the glow of significant accomplishments. Every once in a while, though, there’s one in the bunch whose ego gets carried away.Big egos are sometimes the root of workplace issues or strained relationships between colleagues. From poor communication to unwillingness to work as a team, egos rarely serve anyone. What’s more, the obnoxious and overbearing behaviour that often comes with egotistical attitudes can damage creativity, undermine effective problem solving, cause stress and adversely impact morale.
So how can you keep your cool while keeping big heads in check?

  • Don’t take the bait
    Some egotists thrive on or become encouraged when others attempt to rope them back to reality. Directly calling out someone’s ego may be construed as jealously or could cause insult or offense. Remember when you were a kid and each time siblings or friends annoyed you mom said, “Just ignore ‘em!”? As always, mom was and is right. More often than not it’s best to remain unprovoked and rational when working with this personality type and instead demonstrate by example or use it to motivate some healthy team competition.
  • Reward the team for a job well done
    Egos can rear their head when individualized competition is the key to recognition in the workplace. Singling people out to reward or reprimand them provides incentive for individuals to take the lead and attempt to outshine one another. Instead, consider reducing this incentive by placing the emphasis on success as a team. After a particularly challenging week or after providing exceptional care, recognize the team with personalized thank-you notes, like these Chocolate Thank-You cards, or a small token of appreciation, like Thank-You Pens for the whole office.
  • Create the team environment
    Rewards aside, work to unify the workplace team in other ways as well. Distribute team gear, like these practical vests or these professional-looking Dress Shirts. Create a team saying or slogan and imprint it on Foam Magnets or Clip Boards.
  • Ensure everyone’s needs are being met
    When all staff are given equal opportunity to assert professional and individual needs in relation to the workplace, and boundaries are set for what behaviour is tolerated in your organization, heads are often less likely to become inflated. This can be accomplished by gathering employee input and implementing it into the employee handbook or a team-based code of conduct. Make sure management is also available to listen to staff members’ comments and concerns about internal relationships.
  • Create an open environment
    A workplace environment that allows for open and honest team discussion is one without room for egos. Work together to keep each other grounded and humble by fostering communication, honesty and acceptance. To do so, reserve a few moments at team meetings for discussing concerns or talking about events or issues that were handled successfully or maybe could have been handled differently. Make it clear to everyone present that this time is about positive and constructive conversation. If your organization doesn’t have frequent team meetings, consider staff suggestion or comment boxes and special note pads for your team on the Intranet.

The surefire way to keep egos in check is to show the value of a team. When individuals come together to realize accomplishments and advancements made together, they may no longer feel the need to stick out from the crowd in a way only they deem necessary.

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