Your Ego and Your Business

Business is hard. It is challenging and scary. It takes resolve and resiliency. It takes courage. Bundle all of those things together and you come up with EGO. Ego, the Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “the idea or opinion that you have of yourself, especially the level of your ability and intelligence…” In other words, you believe enough in yourself that you take on the challenge of owning a business. This is the good side of ego.

There is a bad side to Ego.

A bad or unhealthy ego is a destructive force that in a business sense will destroy your business. At the very best you will have a business that meets your needs but it will be forever slowed or stopped from achieving its best. Unhealthy ego keeps you from being as successful as you want to be while developing a silent unease with your business and its outcome while refusing to do anything about it that doesn’t involve only you. There are several things that can help identify when your ego is becoming a barrier. The things you do or don’t do. These are:

We’ve been successful in the past. – We were successful before so we will be again. What we did worked before so it will continue to work. Therefore, we don’t need to look at the good and bad of those efforts. These owners are letting insecurity get in the way of their continued growth and success. They assume that success will always follow them.

We’ve always done it this way. – There is no need to change, my vision and methods are solid. They will lead to success. We don’t need to look at anything, just follow the process. These owners do not quite grasp that growth, progress, and innovation are completely stopped because the owner fears looking closely at how things are done will expose weaknesses in themselves.

Don’t tell me what to do. – I’m the leader, the owner, I’m good at what I do and can run this business. I don’t need help from anyone else. These types of owners are very defensive about new ideas which ultimately creates a negativity in the business that stops it from growing.

I’m strong enough to do this on my own. I’m the owner, you aren’t – I don’t need your input or ideas. These owners or surround themselves with “yes people” to avoid having their ideas questioned. They insist on maintaining complete control and are not open to collaboration. They sometimes resort to the expression, “I’m the only one around here who knows how to do their job.”

It’s all about me. – When we have a success it is because of me. When we fail you didn’t do your job right, didn’t sell enough or produce enough. What owners don’t realize is that when they behave this way their employees feel devalued. Devalued employees go to other employers where they feel valued.

Of course, those are not the only behaviors but they offer a good example of ego challenges some business owners have. The issue is frequently they believe that because they are good at something, that thing they started their business around, that they are good at everything in the business. For all of us, this could not be further from the truth.

Helping to correct these unhealthy ego issues involves several things. Among them are:

Become more self-aware.  You aren’t the best at everything. Try to find someone to complement your skills and helps you improve your shortcomings and weaknesses. You can create tremendous success through this method because it involves building on the strengths of others.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Consider an external resource such as a Consultant. Other resources would be classes at your local Tech School or through your Chamber of Commerce. Asking for help does not make you weak. Believing you don’t need help is what makes you weak.

Develop a good team. Hiring team members who have skills different from yours is one way but in a tight job market, it may not be as easy as it sounds. Too many businesses waste a significant amount of time looking for perfect in their new hires, the so-called “A” players. A more efficient way would be to train and develop your team. There are many available resources for this from Consultants to Colleges and Tech schools.

Those are a few of the ways that you can identify if your ego is unhealthy for your business and methods you can use to help overcome them. The odds are that as a Business Owner you already have a strong ego, now, make it a strong and healthy ego. Build your business and enjoy the things that are important to you.

Want to know more? Ask me, I’m here to help.