Is Your Ego Damaging Your Career?

Businessmen in office.

Being proud of your skills is great: you need people to respect you enough to trust you in the workplace. However, an over-inflated ego can damage your prospects. Bragging about your abilities all the time will only lead to resentment from colleagues, and give you an air of desperation with potential business partners. It can also be damaging at networking events as it signals insecurity, not success. And from a brand point of view, if you’re considered arrogant, consumers will be less likely to engage with you – or spend their money with you.

Conversely, low self-worth can be damaging in the work place, as it can lead to fear. If you’re too scared to act at speed when required, because you’re more centered on your own anxiety than the problem you’re facing, you’ll limit your chances of success. Similarly, if a brand is too scared of change to adapt to new ways of thinking, it will limit its growth – and maybe even hasten its demise.

Stop Ego Damaging Your Prospects

‘Show, don’t tell, ‘ is the golden rule, whether you want to manage your ego at work, or share your corporate credentials on social media. If you want to be remembered as principled, productive or creative, show that you are principled, productive and creative. Let your results speak for themselves, while being proud enough of what you do to ensure you are given fair credit (and reward).

W.A.I.T is a useful acronym to remember (asking yourself, ‘Why Am I Talking?). Is what you’re mentioning useful or interesting? Is the context right? Are you talking to the right person? If not, why are you talking? And if you do have something useful to share, what’s holding you back from sharing it?

If you’re someone who ‘just happens’ to drop your ‘key successes’ into every conversation – and always centres conversations around yourself – then you may need to consider how much of what you’re doing is ego-led. Similarly, if you’re always late for meetings, it suggests you consider your time to be more important than everyone else’s – another sign you should check your ego.

The brand equivalent is having social media timelines that contain nothing but links to your site, offers and promotions. No one cares about any one company that much, so share other interesting content that reflects your values too. You are not that important to your audience – so show you understand them by sharing content they want to see!

Be Confident!

Conversely, if you’re uncomfortable with compliments; work overtime all the time to justify your employment as you’re insecure about your abilities; or have little confidence in your ideas, you’re unlikely to thrive.  The brand equivalent is the company that spurns social media because they don’t understand it, ignores technological advances and changing customer needs and stays stuck in the past because they’re scared to take a step forwards. Don’t be that company…

A balanced ego will allow you to recognise your own worth without alienating other people, and help you shine in the workplace – while making life easier all round for you too. You need to feel confident that you are equipped for and worthy of the job that you’re doing, without letting your ego hide your true talents.

In brand terms, presenting a healthy balance is simple: create a product you’re proud of, connect with others who share your values, put consumer needs at the centre of everything you do, and be authentic!

How Business Structures Can Keep Egos In Check

At Onyx, we have a ‘cog’ structure in which senior team members each run projects in the expert area, while also providing other team members with support on their projects. This gives everyone autonomy but also helps keep egos in check, as someone could be heading up a project and devising strategy one minute, and in a support role on someone else’s team, writing a press release to their brief, the next.

Everyone in the team experiences being ‘the boss’, in their specialist areas, giving them an ego boost. However, they are also rewarded for supporting other team members, meaning that they get self-esteem from being supportive. This helps everyone keep their egos under control – without anyone feeling that their talents are being neglected.

We also aim for as much transparency as possible internally. Inflated egos are often a sign of insecurity, so everyone is encouraged to be open about their expertise, challenges and stumbling blocks. There’s no need to brag when everyone knows your skills, and you understand and respect theirs; and there’s no reason to feel insecure when your talents are recognized and rewarded! It’s important to us to provide a supportive environment which helps everyone shine.

Onyx’s business structure helps everyone maintain a healthy ego – after all, our team has a lot to be proud of – without anyone trampling over other members of the team or feeling they need to be a diva to be heard – and this makes for a much happier workplace.