Fostering “Good Ego” in the Workplace

by Jim Stein

We’re all human, so it makes sense that each of our team members has both a GOOD EGO and BAD EGO within them. As their leader, how can you stoke the fire of GOOD EGO and teach the folly of BAD EGO? A strong GOOD EGO will drive them to take pride in delivering quality work. A strong BAD EGO will cause them to treat customers poorly when they don’t see eye-to-eye.

GOOD Staff Member EGO

  • Pride in quality work
  • Pride in good work ethic
  • Pride in customer satisfaction
  • Pride in professional development

BAD Staff Member EGO

  • I’m an expert so I don’t need to keep learning.
  • I’m right and the customer is wrong so I’m not giving an inch.
  • Since I’m an expert, I’m a better judge of quality work than the customer.

Figure out how to foster a strong sense of pride in each team member’s quality work, displays of strong work ethic, customer satisfaction focus and professional development. Start by recognizing, thanking and rewarding each team member on specific accomplishments and moments of success. Expand from there. If you realize that your job is to foster GOOD EGO, you’ll come up with ideas to do so.

Use the GOOD EGO to suppress the BAD EGO. Frame your company’s customer interactions as a source of pride for team members—pride in their ability to make the customer feel that they care. 

Tip: Establish what your customer expects from you by asking, “What results do you expect to see from our work?” When you understand the customer’s expectations, confirm with a statement about what you’ll do and then ask the follow up question, “Would that be helpful to you?” or some variation. You now have a psychological contract, which establishes the standard for satisfactory performance in the customer’s mind. This conversation may sound like you’re giving up control to the customer, but the reality is, you have prompted your customer to commit to one mutually-acceptable marker for satisfaction. You’ve preempted the “moving target,” and now you can focus on this standard.

By: Jim Stein, Founder/CEO of American Ratings Corporation, creators of the Diamond Certified Program.

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