Egos – where to start. I guess with saying that in my opinion I am not an egotistical person. In my own head I like to think that I am a fairly even, balanced person, that I only give input when necessary, and that actually I personally place little value on most of my input, even when others tell me otherwise.
However, I write a blog, so I have decided that my opinion matters and should be heard. Alongside that I tweet prolifically. Again me deciding my thoughts need to be shared. So I must have a slight ego there.
Or do I simply feel I am shouting into the abyss and I’m not overly bothered if anyone listens? Thats a whole other blog post right there.
So why the post on Ego?
In the last few weeks I have attended a lot of meetings. Worthwhile, but numerous. When looking through my diary at the volume of them, I decided to approach them with a different focus.
Initially, my thoughts were that I would start to track, post meeting, who it is that actually does any of the work and who just produces a lot of noise and bluster. We often cover a lot of ground in our discussions, many routes are explored, promises made and actions taken.
This means that I spent a lot of time observing the people. Their interactions, motives, and egos. It has been very enlightening to see different styles and who the ego driven people are, especially when linking that to achievements. A lot of the surprise has come from the people displaying the egos.
Maybe it is worth saying, at this point, clearly I have maintained focus on my objectives and getting what I need from, and inputting fully to meetings.
There has been one particular type of ego that is the one I have noticed most. I will also clarify that this isn’t the one I have seen the most, or that which is most prolific. It is the one that surprised me most, because of those displaying it.
Most of my meetings are on strategy, planning, rescue, rationalisation. But some I am invited to where my expertise is required to assist others. This means that often I am ‘consulting’ on projects and programmes other than my own.
Therefore, I don’t have a great deal of knowledge or history of the outcomes, and the roadmap that has got them to where they are. My role is to listen, provide input and direction, offer up suggestions and make connections between people and teams. That’s how I see it anyway.
The expert and the rescuer.
There have however been many instances recently where I have seen others attend these meetings, under a similar guise, with startlingly different results. In my view, they are the ones who’s egos take them from expert to rescuer.
In many ways this is not a bad thing, they are after all experts in their field, which is why they were invited. The difference for me is in how that advice is given. There have been some occasions where advice has been given, and ended with the speaker closing down further discussion and moving us on.
Alternatively, I have seen advice given in the form of a lecture, with a lengthy delivery of almost an essay, options given, with a one person dialogue as to which is best and why. Often this has been backed up with a link back to the speaker and their justification of why this is right.
Sometimes past successes, sometimes theory, and often just an ‘in my opinion this would be the best way’ with a defensive response if further clarification sought on why that is their opinion.
This now takes me to one of my points of bewilderment. These people are mostly known to me. As colleagues I have worked alongside some, or have seen their progress from the sidelines. Which means I have seen their involvement in their successful deliveries. Or more so, the successes that they are claiming as their own.
What did I take away?
Which leads me back to what I had planned as my original focus for these sessions. Who offers advice and backs that with action and who speaks loudly to an audience never to be seen again until the next ‘rescue opportunity’.
The majority of the people who attended, gave advice, options and offers of help or connections to people or teams that could help followed through. Connections made, actions delivered and projects moving forward.
The majority of those who loudly gave forth their expert opinions, did not follow through. A number of emails may have occurred, in some cases follow on conversations. But very little action, and no movement in the projects positions.
I am not going to concentrate on ego types etc, I have some posts in draft that will cover Ego state, and personas. Instead I am going to ask two questions.
- Take some time in meetings over the next few days and observe the people you are seeing and interacting with in my head I have characterised them as:
Those who say they will and do
Those how say they can, but don’t
Those who say they can, have in the past and are experts but don’t, until there is attention focussed and they can ‘save the day‘
- Are you conscious of whether you have an ego or not?
An ego isn’t a bad thing, but would your self assessment match that of those around you?
I will leave you with the dictionary definition of Ego:
a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.
the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.