3 Keys to Maintaining a Healthy Ego


I’ve been sharing some thoughts about ego and the role it plays in organizations, bad decisions, and our strengths. The book egonomics: What Makes Ego Our Greatest Asset (or Most Expensive Liability) by Marcum and Smith presents some interesting thoughts on the subject, including research on the costs of ego in companies.

Let’s now look at how we can maintain a healthy ego for ourselves.

There are three keys to developing a balanced ego:

  1. Humility
  2. Curiosity
  3. Honesty

Without losing confidence in who we are or lessening the importance of what we’ve achieved, humility creates a desire to reach the next level of performance. It doesn’t lose sight of “me,” but it prevents our personal needs and agendas from interfering with open dialogue and intense debate.

Humility channels our ambitions into the success of “we,” rather than a selfish and short-lived agenda of “me.”

Once humility creates an open mind, curiosity drives the exploration of ideas. It gives us permission and courage to test what we think, feel and believe to be true, reminding us we don’t know everything.

Honesty is the habitual pursuit of the truth. It’s not that people don’t want the truth, but we often don’t want all of it — particularly the part that’s hard to hear or doesn’t support our agenda.

If openness and progress are the outcomes of humility, and innovation is the aim of curiosity, then honesty is the light that exposes the truths hidden in our habits and comfort zones.

What are you doing to stay in touch with humility? Are you maintaining your curiosity? Are you looking at “both sides” of the truth?

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