Ability and Ego

July 16th, 2015 — 5:30am

Some people have such a strong need to be right, they don’t listen and learn to get better. I know some people like that, and even more disturbing, sometimes I am a person like that. Ouch.

In my flying lessons sometimes I notice myself trying to give my instructor a valid explanation for the mistake I just made. When the conversation has become about someone’s ego, instead of the task at hand, we’ve got a problem.

Some people have incredible skills and ability, but they are also consistently defensive and/or condescending. Sadly, this ego problem negates their value as a member of a team. They have the potential to contribute a great deal, but by rubbing others the wrong way and making it about their emotional need to be right instead of the team outcomes, their potential is mostly wasted.

I also know some people who have a delightful combination of high ability to contribute and low need to defend their ego. In a recent meeting I watched the leader receive some negative feedback, own it, apologize, and suggest a solution, all without getting his feathers ruffled. Ironically, by not trying to defend his right-ness, he raised the level of respect everyone in the room had for him. It was beautiful to see how smoothly the problem got solved, because his ego wasn’t in the way.

I want to be, and surround myself with, more of that.