Blog: All about 'workplace ego'

Life @ Work

All about 'workplace ego'

Ego may differ in different places and circumstances. Here I have tried to explain the reasons of ego at the workplace and how it is different. Based on my experience, I would like to define Work Ego (WE) as intentional ignorance of SuperEgo/EGO over ID.
All about 'workplace ego'

EGO is a prominent word most often used for individuals at home, among friends, and at workplace. Ego is your idea or opinion of yourself, especially your feeling of your own importance and ability, it is associated with various facets of a person's life it may be a situation or circumstance driven. A psychoanalytic theory on personality by Sigmund Fred explains human behavior is a result of interaction between three parts of the mind: ID, EGO, SUPEREGO. The ID is the primitive and instinctive component of personality. It consists of all the inherited components of personality present at birth, ID is the impulsive part of our psyche which response directly and immediately to basic urges, needs, and desires. The EGO is 'that part of the ID which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world. The EGO develops to mediate between the unrealistic ID and the external real world. It is the decision-making component of personality ideally, the EGO works by reason, whereas the ID is chaotic and unreasonable. SUPEREGO incorporates the values and morals of society which are learned from one's parents and others. SUPEREGO's function is to control the ID's impulses, especially those which society forbids.

Ego may differ in different places and circumstances. Here I have tried to explain the reasons of ego at the workplace and how it is different. Based on my experience, I would like to define Work Ego (WE) as intentional ignorance of SuperEgo/EGO over ID. If we MICRO analyze, work ego is circumstances driven it could arise from rigid behavior/ expertise in a particular domain, lesser orientation in team working, understanding gap, or lesser listening capacity. Here we are trying to express the effects of similar human behavior on work, which could be probable reasons and how it could be avoided.

Generation of 'WE' may occur with performers at the workplace. He may develop the behaviour of rigidity where he/she may think that he/she is always right and tend to reject everything else, in this situation other co-workers may find it difficult to work. On the other hand, a person’s high performance may make him/her a key person and he or she can share or transfer knowledge to others.

  • The false commitment made to subordinates, commitments that are not possible in your present in-force workplace policies will be termed as a false commitment for example unexpected increment, unusual fringe benefits, or perks. “WE” is generated when false commitments are not fulfilled then one who commits exhausts his/her energy in justifying the commitment made by him/her. In this case “WE” gets generated in either case, if it gets fulfilled it is “WE” for one who committed vice-s-versa it is 'WE' generated against the process owner who actually denied that commitment. When false commitments are made to superiors, when not fulfilled may result in a confrontation which further leads to “WE”. 
  • The difference of opinion could be another reason for the generation of “WE”. Although the difference of opinion is always healthy to find the correct way to proceed provided the same is taken up as healthy knowledge sharing and is supported with effective communication. If not handled carefully may lead to confrontation.
  • Cold War, this arises because of the regular differences of opinion when consensus is not reached it has to be brought a common platform of discussion and resolution should be done without delay. In case of consensus is delay it could result in the communication gap.
  • Understanding Gap, here means is that a subject could be interpreted in more than one ways but what matters is the correct interpretation, which is only possible when inputs are welcomed from all team members provided that decision-maker is well versed with the circumstances (i.e.MACRO and MICRO factors) so that all inputs could be filtered. The understanding gap could be reduced by selecting aware team members only for discussions.
  • Effective communication might be overlooked but is a most crucial aspect if not handled with care may lead to misunderstanding hence medium of communication, target audience, and way of communication should be selected accordingly and messages should be drafted in most commonly understood language and could be reconfirmed by feedback. 
  • Sudden Ego, here means a sudden first communication between unknown employees which either result in a difference of opinion or understanding gap this could bring sudden ego and cold turn out to be a communication barrier for future interactions.

In my experience, the above-mentioned factors are the most possible reasons for the generation of “WE” all these factors could be dealt with if they are addressed in time and effectively otherwise these factors may result in unhealthy work culture in an organization. Behavioral training is another important tool which makes employees develop a zone of tolerance to be open for more options, inputs from others and makes then rethink about his present behavioral shortcoming, it opens the windows of self-assessment which forces them to keep rethink about what is expected out of them which further lead to the development of EGO.

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Topics: Life @ Work, #GuestArticle

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