There’s often a fine line between self-respect and ego. And often, problems arise because most people cannot differentiate between the two. Ego clashes at the workplace are detrimental to the organization, employee morale and group dynamics. When egos come to heads at the workplace, leaders cannot sit on the fence and do nothing to control the situation from escalating further. Here’s what you can do if you face such a situation in the workplace.
As cartoonist Frank Tyger says, “Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble.” It’s always better to listen to the person with a flared ego before making any assumptions. If they like to brag about accomplishments, ask them direct questions that require factual answers. Be diplomatic if you know they are lying, but let them know that you do know the facts. This will make sure that their ego never crosses your path again.
Find out their real strengths
Everyone has some strengths, even the people with the most precipitous egos. There’s about a fifty percent chance that the ego flares are caused when a person feels that their strengths are not being utilized. As a leader, it would benefit you to find out those strengths and try to capitalize on them. For example, if they know how to manage time and improve project delivery timelines, enlist their help and ask them to share their knowledge with the rest of the team. Not only will it help you control those ego flares, but also help your team learn something useful.
Find something to praise
Reinforce positive behavior whenever possible. Even if someone on your team often gets embroiled in ego clashes with colleagues, there might be times they show restraint. Appreciate them for making that effort by letting them know that they handled the situation well. This will encourage them to repeat that same positive behavior and avoid falling back to their habitual confrontational behavior.
Encourage those who feel ignored
The best way to ensure no bruised egos at the workplace is through right encouragement at the right time. If they do not participate in team meeting voluntarily, egg them to voice their opinions. Talk to them regularly to find out their career goals and assign them tasks and projects specific to those interests and career goals.
Remind them who’s the boss
When all else fails, remind them who’s the boss. Let them know that you are willing to make some concessions, but those have limits. Extend your willingness to listen to their suggestions and ideas, but make it clear that you get to have the final word on any matter. Always be firm but fair, and let them know it.
Where there’s people, there will be ego clashes. But as a leader, the impact these conflicts at the workplace are going to have on your team is completely in your hands. Letting minor disagreements and differences of opinion escalate in complicated situations can be destructive for your team and for your own career as well.
These are just a few simple steps, but these are certainly not your only options to explore. As a leader, you have to learn the art of listening, encouraging your team, and fostering open discussions to resolve issues in order to create a more productive environment for your team, yourself and your business to grow.