Do you have an egomaniac in your firm? Just how damaging can this type of personality be in business? And how do you spot them? Here are ten signs that someone is being driven by their ego —and my suggestions for a better way.
1. Blaming others
Any time someone blames others, it’s a sign they’re not taking responsibility. They may have good reasons why things aren’t perfect but it’s never anything to do with them. They also like to spend a lot of time grumbling about it.
Instead: Look at the situation, decide what you would like to be different, and then put into action those things necessary to make that happen.
2. Blaming themselves
It goes like this: “It’s all my fault! I’m not a good enough… I should have…, I shouldn’t have…”. This is an excuse for someone to stay in the past, and not make changes in their behaviour, beliefs and attitudes. It’s also very attention-seeking.
Instead: Look at what happened, learn from it and then quietly get on with making the best of the situation.
3. They are always right (and never wrong)
The inability to admit a mistake is a sure sign of ego. They will defend, argue and use all kinds of evidence to demonstrate that they are right.
Instead: Be willing to experiment with other ideas before you decide what works.
4. They know everything about everything
They’ve read every book and they know every theory. Often they are so full of knowing that there’s no room for new ideas.
Instead: Ask questions and take time to learn from others.
5. They never have any problems, only solutions
This aspect of ego is all about keeping up appearances. They never admit to having any problems. They also know exactly how to solve everyone else’s problems and are the first to jump up and insist they help others.
Instead: Admit your struggles but not in a way that burdens others. Share problems as a way to create empathy with a colleague, for example. But let others know that things can and will be different. Ask for help when you need it, and accept it graciously.
6. They know exactly what’s wrong with you, the world and everyone else
This egomaniac is full of theories about exactly what’s wrong with society, religion, the government, the economy, the environment. They will be up on their soap box telling the world that it needs to change, and doing their best to trigger guilt in others.
Instead: OK, so the world is not perfect and there might be some things you want to change, but start that change in yourself.
7. They never have a mentor or ask for help
They don’t need help because, of course, they know everything. They are above all that and they’re perfect as they are, thank you!
Instead: Always seek to learn from others, even those who might seem less well trained than you.
8. They are judgemental
Many egomaniacs are very judgemental of others, their behaviour and their beliefs. They will continuously point out the flaws in others, and will give unsolicited advice about exactly what that person needs to do to change for the better. They will leave others feeling insecure, inadequate and as if they have failed.
Instead: Try and make others feel good, not bad, it will bring out the best in them.
9. They don’t go on any courses or programmes
They feel that they don’t need to because they are so enlightened. They will say things like “It’s not the right time”, “That course would be perfect for other people”, “I already know that”.
Instead: Always be open to new knowledge, new groups and new experiences.
10. Their lives never change
The purpose of ego is to keep you safe, and it always thinks the safest thing to do is to avoid change. So, when a person is driven by their ego, their lives never seem to change. They have the same situations, experiences and problems (that they may not admit to) over and over again.
Instead: Relish new challenges rather than shying back from them.
Dr Lisa Turner’s website has more advice for enlightened entrepreneurs at www.psycademy.co.uk.