Destructive ego traits can negatively impact teamworking

By Christina Lattimer, Owner,  People Discovery

To create great team-working, you need to leave your ego at home each day.  Here are five destructive ego traits which we should put behind us so that we can work better in a team.

1.  The need to be right

We all have different perspectives and quite often there are a number of possibilities, whatever the problem.  The ego is definitely in play when we make ourselves right and others wrong. 

Instead: Win–win thinking and behaviour creates better teamwork.

2.  A sense of entitlement, or specialness

A sense of entitlement and a need to be special can make the workplace competitive and self-serving, with little regard for teamwork.  Individuals will have expectations about what they ‘deserve’, and this usually means they believe others don’t deserve the same benefits, praise, or income.

Instead: Understand everyone makes a unique, albeit different, contribution and everyone is part of the team and, therefore, valuable.

3.  Gossip

The problem with gossip is that it is mostly speculation about what might be, rather than facts.   Unfortunately, speculation can grow and cause unnecessary fear and discontent. Not only is gossip negative, it is also a waste of time.   Hearing someone gossip about someone else does little to endear a person to them. It creates a wedge of distrust. If they can talk about others behind their backs, they might they be doing the same to you.  

Instead: Create great conversations about your own experiences and invite others to contribute their own.  Stick to facts and don’t get personal about others.  Discuss your own thoughts and feelings without attributing or assuming what other people’s motives, thoughts or feelings might be.

4.  ‘Yes person’ mentality, not being one’s true self

People pleasing, especially in a hierarchical team structure, results in a lack of growth and a denial of unique talents and contribution.  People pleasing can result from the need to be liked, often stemming from a fear of not being good enough, or of being rejected for speaking up. Some leaders encourage this trait in team members because it makes them feel secure.  

Instead: Speak your own truth, but to do it in a way which respects everyone else’s too.

5.  Complaining

Complaining about others is a method we use to assert the wrongness of others and the rightness of ourselves.  It distracts us from trying to understand and be forgiving of others. Instead, we use blame to protect our own image of ourselves.  

Instead:  put yourself in another’s shoes and to try to understand their perspective.  Stick with the facts and don’t take or make things personal.

A longer version of this article first appeared at The People Development Network