How to keep your ego in check

Think you're doing a great job? Here's how to make sure it doesn't go to your head.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Request regular feedback. Ask a variety of people and listen - most of what they say will be true. Don't agree? Show willing by adapting at least some of your behaviour.

Go for gold, not glory. CEOs who avoid the spotlight tend to be more successful. Give status-building a rest, keep your head down and let your results speak for you.

Be secure. Doing a great job but need more praise? Grow up. People have better things to do than massage your ego. Let pride in your work fuel your confidence or ask friends and family.

Treat everyone as equals. Recognise that your team have as much to contribute as you, just in different ways. Appreciate their strengths, consider their ideas, and once you have created a solution together, trust them to share the load. You're their manager, not their messiah; they'll be fine.

Let others shine. Publicly praise people's contributions, naming them and being specific about how they excelled. People are more generous with their time and support when they believe they'll be appreciated, and they may even reciprocate.

Be selfless. When someone asks for personal advice, put your own agenda to one side and base your recommendations on what you actually think is best for them.

Swallow your pride. Bullishness and buck-passing will damage your reputation more than mistakes. If you're in the wrong, admit it, apologise and demonstrate your sincerity with specifics. 'I was wrong' is good. 'I was wrong to promise the client a 24-hour turnaround' is better.

Have patience. Just joined as the star hire? Don't expect instant respect. In some businesses, years served is the measure of greatness. In others it's revenue generated. Respect the culture.

Be human. Strategically reveal your imperfections. The greatest leaders aren't afraid to be fallible.

The Mind Gym: changing the way people think, feel and behave.

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