Oversized Egos in the Office

Do you work with someone with an oversized ego? Chances are we have all come across at least one or two people with massive egos. It can be very difficult to work with someone like this. The question is, how do you know it’s an ego problem in the first place? The answer is that you can’t know for sure. The competitive nature of the work place can lead to people looking out for themselves. You could just be dealing with a confident and assertive person.

When referring to the ego, I am not talking about Sigmund Freud’s definition of the ego where he defined three aspects of the self: the id (instinctive, impulsive & primitive self), the ego (the organised and realistic core self) and the superego (moralising role of the conscience). Here, ego refers to the dictionary definition as being someone with exaggerated sense of self-importance; conceit.

An oversized ego is the elephant in the room. It seems that people are comfortable talking about leadership, teamwork and communication and do not address the issue of a big ego. Working with people who have narcissist tendencies will undoubtedly affect team dynamics. An overbearing behaviour will get in the way of problem solving, cause stress and negatively affect general morale.

Someone with a healthy ego has drive and conviction yet is realistic that the world does not revolve around them. So how do you spot an oversized ego?

Profile traits of an oversized ego

– Stops at nothing to gain credit for every task and idea.
– Only uses the word “I” instead of “we” when referring to a group effort.
– Takes over every meeting and discussion.
– Feeds on attention.
– Only interested in their own opinions and ideas.
– Constantly criticises other people’s work.
– Never wrong.

How to deal with an oversized ego

Here are 4 C’s to deal with egotism in the workplace.

Calm
Resist the temptation to fight back as this will trigger a defense/attack mode. The other person thinks they are always right, so remain calm and let them state their opinions and thoughts until they run out of steam. Then, you can address their claims and make your points calmly and in a confident manner.

Call
Use the person’s name when speaking to them. This will subtly massage their ego in a way that allows you to get their attention. Use their name often (don’t overdo it) so they continue to feel that a particular conversation is about them.

Consult
A big ego is likely to get aggravated if they think you know or have something that they don’t and this will trigger them to react. Let the other person believe they do indeed know more by asking questions and consulting them. This should relax them and not urge them to try to overpower you.

Communicate
Once you have softened the ego with the previous steps and left it in a receptive position with its guard slightly down, speak your mind and present your message. Clearly state your objective or objection. Do it in a private fashion so that the ego does not feel it is being undermined in public.

How do you deal with big egos? Feel free to leave your comments.

Did you like this article? Sign up via Email or RSS to get the latest updates on diverse topics.

Written by Ana Antunes da Silva.

Photo by Vigilant20.

7 Responses to “Oversized Egos in the Office”

  1. Diana says:

    I do work with a big ego and the above advice will prove extremely valuable!!! Thank you Aim to Be!!! You have actually summarised the solution in a brilliant fashion. By doing the above you gain respect and with respect you can absolutely work with a big ego.

    • Ana says:

      Thanks for your comments Diana. Really appreciate it! I couldn’t agree with you more; respect is absolutely crucial. I hope the tips come in handy.

  2. Andi says:

    Hi Ana – just to say thanks for the info. My Team is riddled with egos and I think they’re proud of it! It’s really caused some clashes and i’ve been stressed out listening to several egomanics moan about other egomaniacs. I have emailed your article to them and hope for the best.

    • Ana says:

      Hi Andi.
      Many thanks for your comments. I hope sending them my article has the desired effect! Keep me posted.
      Also, if there are any other topics that you would like to read about that you think may benefit you and/or the team please let me know.
      Best, Ana

  3. Harri says:

    Andi,
    I come from a military culture that encourages confidence. The corporate world I am now in is made up of prior military personnel. Because confidence is expected, the negative aspect of ego also comes into play. You have identified what I’ve long suspected. Big ego does not equal confidence. I’ve often thought that those with the biggest egos had confidence issues. Thank you for offering realistic tools to deal with oversized egos.

  4. Ranjan says:

    What if I have a big ego myself and that interferes with my sales calls. For example, I think I am a top notch Marketing guy and can’t be making sales calls. This interferes with my business progress.

    How do I handle that?

    • Ana says:

      Hi Ranjan,
      Many thanks for your comments. I would be delighted to discuss in more detail. In the meantime, let´s congratulate your Ego for being modest enough to recognise that it may be getting in the way! That is in itself a big first step. I would start by asking what needs to happen for your Ego to be comfortable making sales calls? Remember, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” Anthony Robbins
      Ana

Leave a Reply

Powered by Wordpress | Designed by Jemima | Admin access Here