“Egocentrism is the inability to differentiate between self and other. More specifically, it is the inability to accurately assume or understand any perspective other than ones own.” – you can easily find the explanation of egocentrism but what kind of methods are available to handle egocentric associates and bosses?
There are many ways to treat these co-workers, but please let us cover the “soft” solutions only where there is no need to quit, change your job, contact HR or escalate.
Our first tip is to keep track of all the communications with this colleague. If you have a sit-down, do not hesitate to write a memo with commitments. Egocentric people often forget about commitments they made before or skew the facts later in their favor.
If you failed in something, own it! It’s the best to communicate transparently and close the issue immediately.
Creating clear boundaries and being firm can set a limit to insinuating himself into your work.
If something bothers you or creates extra work with no value because of your egocentric colleague, express it immediately and plainly with no offense. It’s recommended to create a kind of distance between you, but after a while you can consciously build your relations on a stronger basis. But never overdo giving feedback because it may harm their feelings and the more vulnerable they feel, the more they are going to puff themselves up. You can give feedback to your boss as well, but remember: good relationship is the most important aspect to go forward. That’s why you shouldn’t focus on the person, rather focus on the problem itself.
If you give feedback try to avoid giving “feedback sandwich”. This technique is about giving serious (negative) feedback between two compliments. Most of us do this because we do not like hurting other’s feeling. But the truth is that we do this because we are prone to protect our feelings this way by decreasing the importance of the true takeaways. Taken all round, this method rarely works in general, but never works with people with large egos.
Rather encourage him when he shows good behavior. Remember: every people fights with cause and effect all the time and there is always a reason behind every action. If the effect of bearing himself well is good that’s the best feedback.
You can give them a bit less of your attention. Instead of writing a comprehensive response to their e-mails, you can write shorter responses that get right to the point. Time yourself: instead of reacting instantly, take a step back and respond to his or her e-mail when you have time. Don’t derail your work schedule to feed others with information. Taking these advices goes with softening their ego hand in hand. Teach them to be patient; the world does not revolve around them. Protect your mind space by giving only the attention that is necessary.
What if a self-centered colleague is conceit with a good reason? First, it is not a problem until your team does not feel it is too much. You should keep an eye on team goals first and ensure that rivalries are achievement-oriented, not personal. Bruised egos are fine; to hurt feelings are not. Create an environment where everyone feels part of the team.
Do not start sentences with the phrases “I just”, “I feel”, “I think”, “I kind of” because it makes you sound powerless and it inevitably gives your egocentric people a sentiment where you are not in control.
Remember, feeding his ego could make you more likable and thus a conflict avoider, but never feed him directly, because it’s too lame. If you make it indirectly in front of a group, or one of his associates tells him your positive opinion about him – That’s the jackpot!
You can make use of your team’s power to decrease your manager’s ego. Nobody likes to see individuals shining due to team achievement so leading by example can be crucial. That’s why you should avoid to emphasize your manager’s result, rather glorify Team success.
Disagreements should move us closer to the solution, clarify misunderstandings, without creating another issue or conflict. Productive teams with no self-centered managers do not allow themselves to get personal. They respect other people with different standpoints. A man of action does not spend energy on trying to be right and overcome others, but rather focus on the ways which will get the whole team closer to the solution.
Sometimes big steps and huge impacts do not really work no matter how hard you try to break down an ego. If you cannot change that you better learn to deal with it: try to start each interaction with a blank slate. This way you can save your time at ease. Do not try to understand their behavior, sometimes there is no reason behind it. Do not take any hurtful thing personally because a person with huge ego rarely respect others’ feelings. All in all, try to be logical, direct and save your inner calmness.
Sometimes leaders with huge ego can make you wait with no regrets. This is an awful habit. You can emphasize the importance of being on time because being late also expresses a lack of respect, not just a bigger ego in business life.
Learn negotiation techniques, linguistic aspects, body language and tone, because all of these could contribute to your personal success!
Last, but probably the most important advice: when you feel one of your associates really bugs you then it’s suggested to see inward and examine yourself too. The way you deal with a certain man’s ego may tell you more about your own insecurities.
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