Let us make no mistake – having an ego is important to one’s general health and leading a productive life. A good self concept and image is an integral part of a confident personality. It is when the ego becomes over inflated that we can find ourselves getting into trouble.
Here is my short list of watch out behaviors – add yours at the end of the post.
- You have a fool proof product, process or plan. There is no such thing as fool proof. Let us say you have a tight plan or process that you have painstakingly perfected. Conditions change and that requires adaptation. There are always curve balls and unexpected situations that arise. There are any number of companies whose down fall was the result of thinking they had the best product or service.
- You have “the answer”. No one else has the answer or you have the best answer. If someone suggests something different, you shoot it down.
- The suggestion box is closed. This is closely tied to #2. You do not ask for suggestions on how to improve things from others. The sense is you are not open to being helped.
- Discussions are met with defensive behavior. When someone challenges your pet project or something you are doing, you get angry and lash out instead of thinking I can learn something. In fact, the easiest way to defend yourself is to turn the situation back on the other person and accuse them of not trusting, knowing, being intelligent enough, understanding…well you get the drift. That is when conversations with you become less frequent or silent.
- There is voodoo everywhere. What you know you keep to yourself and do not share with others freely.
- Your personal learning or growth is stagnated. If your ego is inflated, the more likely you have quit learning at an accelerated rate. When you only expose yourself to what you want or how you want to learn, the opportunity is lost to consider alternative ways of doing things.
- Arrogance out-trumps humbleness. Confidence is important; taken to excess it may appear to be arrogant. No one wants to be around an over-confident person, especially when others may have helped you get to the top. The inflated ego is often a mask of insecurity. During humbling times, showing insecurity lets other connect with you, arrogance will drive them away.
- It’s all about you. There are varying ways “it’s all about you” manifests itself to others. It may be talking about you, ignoring others or it could be being a taker and not a giver. An example of this would be receiving advice or assistance when you need it and then withholding when it is your turn reciprocate. Eventually, people walk away and will not be there for you.
- You get too comfortable and lose your edge. Do not forget about that long painful struggle to the top - you had to be alert and claw your way up there. If you get too complacent in your role, it may lead to being dethroned. There are others who will eventually out think you or you might make a misstep by being lackadaisical.
- The platform is a mile high. You are out of reach – it might be personally or professionally. There is no reason to meet new people unless they serve one purpose – to further your goal. It might be because the bar is raised so high or it could be the overconfidence of where you are in life. Either way, if you find yourself on a downward spiral, you may encounter concrete and not a soft landing.
What are the kinds of behaviors you have seen from people who have over inflated egos?