10 Ways to Manage Ego in the Workplace

10 Ways to Manage Ego in the Workplace

It is inevitable you will run into conflict in the workplace when the ego gets out of hand. Here are 10 ways to manage ego in the workplace.

First of all, let it be known we all have an ego and from time to time, somebody will push our buttons and knock our ego out of place.

It’s going to happen.

One thing I want to mention is that a lot of eastern philosophy has this stance of banishing the ego in order to be in alignment with the great oneness.

Ego is often projected like it’s a bad thing. Like it’s something you should be ashamed of and dismiss at all times.

This is the biggest load of nonsense.

Deepak Chopra doesn’t get to lecture me on the ego, while he presents himself with diamond-studded spectacles and bright red shoes laughing all the way to the bank as he unleashed another bestseller on spirituality. No way dude!

The Purpose of Ego

The ego has it’s purpose in this world. It is a driving force of human creation, progress and finding ones own meaning in life.

The problem is not that we have an ego. The problem often arises when we lose control of the ego and the ego controls us.

Think of your ego as a wild animal. Not to be tamed, but to be respected and lived within one environment.

Imagine a world without wild animals and how sad that would be. Equally, imagine your life without an ego and how meaningless it would become.

If you want to go off to a hut somewhere and meditate for your remaining days, be my guest – (I did this for 5 years of my life) but please don’t patronize people that don’t, as if you know better than them.

As someone in a position of management, I encounter unbalanced egos from time to time and I have developed the skills to navigate through these periods.

10 Ways to Manage Ego in the Workplace

1. Observe, catch and release your own reaction

The first thing that is most likely to happen when an ego-driven situation presents itself is to react. Unless of course, you’re dead, dying or just couldn’t care less.

This reaction will bubble up to the top and be bursting to express itself.

Your job is to recognise the reaction, acknowledge it and let it be.

This may seem like I am suggesting you suppress it. That would be a misinterpretation.

I’m saying you accept it completely, but make a conscious choice not to let it control you. You are not ignoring this reaction you are bringing awareness to it and pouring light on to it.

2. Listen beyond the noise

The noise in this situation will be the distractions that come along with the situation. They will be the bad words, the hysteria, the tempo, the spitting, the accusing and many other forms of noise.

Learn to recognise this noise as just being noise and not entirely relevant to the situation.

3. Focus on the solution

With guns blazing in what could be a very reactive situation, it’s time to focus on what the end goal is here. Hopefully for you that will be to find a solution.

Do not allow yourself to get caught in the trap of defending your position and blaming others.

This prolongs the hostile environment and detracts from getting on with things and finding the solution.

It also turns the situation into a power game, which really leads us nowhere other than to an ongoing cycle of pettiness. Just look at our politicians for example.

4. Don’t confuse the situation with reality

When the ego is out of control, so are our minds and ability to rationally think. Things escalate quickly inside that beautiful mind of yours. Molehills become mountains.

None of it is true, time to bring things down a notch and see the situation for what it is.

5. Remember the 6 fundamental human needs

Tony Robbins has brilliantly categorised 6 basic human needs.

They are as follows:

  1. Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
  2. Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli
  3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed
  4. Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something
  5. Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding
  6. Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others


Often the ego will become unbalanced when our needs are not being addressed.

For instance, an employee that is not growing within the company may start to get agitated and irritable, this may and will lead to ego-driven outbursts.

Think about what you can do to address the needs of your team before it’s too late.

6. Be willing to lose the battle, if it means winning the war

Don’t be worried about letting your own ego take a knock if it’s clear that doing so will ultimately lead to you having the final word.

The strategy of taking the high road is well known and often forgotten about in times of ego-driven exchanges.

Even though you feel personally attacked remember another person’s behavior is often a reflection on them and not you.

7. Conduct yourself you’re a professional god damn it!

In the workplace, you’re a professional. Remember that.
Professionals don’t have time for shameless tit for tat bickering.

Get your act together, check yourself and be a god damn professional.

Sorry, but some times tough love works!

8. Remember this cliche!

I love a good cliche because let us be honest they have a habit of being true. They are sentiments that have lasted the test of time and are as true today as when they were first spoken.

This cliche goes like this “Listen to understand, not to reply”.

This attitude of listening to understand will completely disable the reaction and drama of the other person.

You are not playing their game, you give them what they truly need as opposed to what they are craving.

Truly listening to someone is like casting a magic spell that stops us in our tracks and washes over us like a cleansing, refreshing shower.

9. Detach yourself from your own ego

Remember at the start where I said we all have an ego?

I said that because it’s true.

Don’t be getting all high and mighty thinking you’re talking to the unevoled peasant.

You’re no better than them and if you’re in this situation, that is essentially validation that you helped create that situation.

If you want the opposing force to drop their ego, first you must learn to drop yours.

10. Know that this is a teaching moment

Accepting that you’ve got something to learn in an otherwise harsh situation will completely change your energy in that moment.

You will become curious, alert and see the situation as an opportunity to grow, making you the type of person you wish you could be in the situation.

Managing ego in the workplace is the gift that keeps giving. It will make you more robust and give you the path to find your own internal balance.

The ego is a beautiful, powerful, and life-affirming entity, but like anything when it gets out of control, it becomes imbalanced, suffocating, and poisonous.

And remember as with all things that are detrimental to our health, prevention is better than cure. Bring an increased sense of awareness to the work place.

Learn to be a better listener, learn how to manage your own ego and learn to serve and address others needs so that they feel like they belong.

Did you enjoy this article?

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Feature image: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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