Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Double the Trouble: When the Traps Interrelate

Which Ego Traps are most relevant for you? Do you have one, two, or three that nip at your heel? Some of these traps tend to go together, while others simply cause more intense issues when they’re paired up. Here’s a look at some of the most prevalent combinations:

·       not letting go of control and losing touch with the front line experience

·       ignoring feedback and underestimating how much you are being watched

·       surrounding yourself with more of you and sliding back to old behaviors.

Let’s start with the first. If you are disconnected from the frontline experience (Trap 7) but at the same time holding tightly to control (Trap 4), there is a good chance you will end up micromanaging things that you have no knowledge about.

Ignoring feedback (Trap 1) and underestimating how much you’re being watched (Trap 6) is also a potent combination. Imagine the following. You behave in certain not so desirable ways, thinking that no one is really watching you anyway, but they are and it has a negative impact on an employee, your team, or the whole organization. Later, you are given feedback on this behavior, but you choose to ignore it and go on to repeat the behavior. It is incredibly demoralizing to others who see a leader receive feedback and ignore it because it sends the message that the leader just doesn’t care. And if the leader doesn’t care, why should the employees?

As for the last combination, if you should find that your common pitfall is to surround yourself with more of you (Trap 5), beware too of Ego Trap 8—ego relapse. If you are surrounded by people who don’t challenge you, it will be far easier to slide back into high-ego behaviors because no one’s calling you out on it. It may be easy to become complacent and stop making the effort needed to ask for contrary opinions. Before you’ve made any real progress or a few months into your efforts to awaken your EQ, you could be right back to where you started.

Fortunately, you will always have the three R’s of recognizing, reading, and responding at your disposal. Being sure to tune into yourself (self-awareness), observe and consider others (empathy), and then respond with discipline and consideration (self-control) will help you avoid whichever Ego Trap or Traps are most common for you.

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