It’s good for you to take pride in your successes, but having too big an ego can be extremely detrimental to your career. If your actions are motivated by self-importance, then you’re doomed to fail. You might not fail right away, but ego is eventually going to catch up to you and damage your career in ways you can’t heal. Read below to learn why your ego is so dangerous, and what you can do to control it.
1. A Big Ego Is a Bad Version of High Self-Esteem
First, let’s identify what differentiates an ego from healthy self-esteem. In short, confidence is good, cockiness is not. Strong self-esteem means that you’re secure in your decisions and aren’t afraid to listen to ideas that are not your own. An ego is when you’re so sure of your decisions that you aren’t willing to listen to any differing opinions, so self-obsessed that you’re convinced that your opinions are the only ones worth listening to. Now let’s go into some of the ways that egos negatively affect your career.
2. Egos Turn People Off
Co-workers, clients, customers … anyone you interact with in your career is likely to be turned off by someone who acts too self-important. Managing relationships is one of the most important facets of any career, so make sure your relationships are solid. If someone you’re working with doesn’t like you, your collaborations will probably go a lot less smoothly. Shove your ego aside at least long enough that people want to be the same room as you.
3. Egos Get in the Way of Good Judgment
When you assume that your way is not just the right way but the only right way, problems tend to pop up in your career. Egotistical people are oftentimes the most ignorant, holding on to bad ideas and bad practices even when a better option is in front of them. Avoid letting your ego call the shots, so that you can make the right decisions that will further your career instead of holding it back.
4. Egos Stop You From Respecting Differing Opinions
Confident people are willing and able to listen to other people’s opinions, even happy to hear ideas better than their own. Egotistical people are scared that other people will outsmart and embarrass them, even when no one else in the room considers the conversation a competition. Don’t leap to shut down other people’s ideas. Even if you don’t like them at first, give them a little time to sink in. Look for things to praise before you start criticizing, so that you can respond to the idea with perspective instead of sheer dislike.
5. Egos Value Power Over Trust
Egotistical people think that amassing influence is the most important thing, but your authority will crumble if others don’t believe in you. Power builds from trust, so valuing power over trust is antithetical. Instead of looking for ways to gain power, organically connect with other people in your career. Make real, lasting friendships that translate into successful business relationships. That way, your career will be built on a sturdy foundation instead of a precarious house of cards.
6. Egos Are Rooted in Self-Doubt
Whereas a healthy sense of confidence is rooted in a good mental state, egos are caused by fear. You actually lack confidence in a way, so you make up for it with bravado. If what I described above seems all too familiar, you might have an ego instead of high self-esteem. Look into ways to build your resolve and strength of character. A somewhat extreme but very effective solution is cognitive-behavioral therapy, treatment with a psychiatrist that helps you face your fears and surpass them through exercises. An ego can be a truly dangerous thing, especially in your career, so be sure to take precautions that yours isn’t in control.
Featured photo credit: john curley via flickr.com