Ego Management = Project Management
First, let’s discuss our own egos. It can be easy to get puffed up because someone liked a book, or because we passed a milestone. But it’s important to stay in touch with reality — not to let our own hype cloud our minds. We’ve all heard stories about celebrities who changed after they became famous. There are a few authors like this, certainly, and to some degree, change is good. But not when it disconnects you from normal boundaries of sense and good judgment. So here are some strategies to keep yourself in check, should you attain some measure of success.
- You’re not always right. If people argue with you, whether it’s about your approach to develop and deliver the project objectives, it doesn’t mean they’re automatically wrong because they share alternate opinions. Listen to what other people have to say.
- Success shouldn’t change you completely. If you find yourself cutting ties with all your old friends and colleagues, that’s a problem. There was a reason you were friends in the first. Ask yourself this: is it because they don’t treat you with awe like everyone else, because they knew you in your pre-fame days? If so, then take two steps back, apologize for falling out of touch and buy your old pals dinner, because you need them to remind you where you came from.
- Other people matter. If you start seeing folks as tools or means to an end, and you only cooperate or make nice to get what you want from them? You have an ego-swelling problem in need of emergency maintenance. Conversely, do be wary of people who eye you as a rung on the way up the ladder, but don’t let it blind you to the opportunity to make new friends. You’ll learn to tell when someone really likes and when they like the idea of knowing you.
- Remember your struggle. Most people didn’t get where they are without some fight, whether it’s in publishing, the corporate world, or an entrepreneurial environment. If you pay it forward now and again, you’ll not only enrich your karma, but it will keep you in touch with other people who are still climbing the hill behind you.
- Last and most important, make a reality-check friend along the way, someone who will tell you when you’re being absurd and insane and will not let you buy a pet elephant to ride down the streets of your hometown when you make your triumphant return for a whirlwind twenty city book tour. This friend will be honest with you, no matter how little you like hearing you. But it’s always up to you to listen.
But wait, there’s more! There’s not just your ego to consider. There are other people’s as well. Are you honest enough to be a reality check friend for someone else? Tell them if they’re going too far? I think I could be… for some people. With others, honestly, I would be afraid to broach the subject because I think they’ve already gone too far down that road unchecked and nothing I say will matter.
Ego Management in Projects
Many a times, one would notice and see that managing and massaging the ego’s of your stakeholders and your team, gets the job done, No matter how good your plans are, you will always be successful when you manage Ego of people who work with you or you have a dependencies with them. A number of times, one would have observed that getting thru to the BOSS is difficult, unless you are able to manage his / her secretary. It is now the secretary more important that the BOSS (remember the referent power).
Just a few drops of praises and good words, would have your job done at all cost. At times, I have started to realize that people at the lower level are attention seekers, Provide your all attention and antennas’ to them and bet you, you would have purchased their loyalty.
I have myself experienced that once you massage the ego of people, it allows you to get your job done, Am I proposing the EGO Management to replace Project Management, no way, but one cannot hide and move away from reality of life. One would have seen that all the theory that would exist in the books is not really practiced in real life. Your plans would be worthless, if adequate level of ego management is not applied and practiced, In the real world of today, one cannot get the job done only by processes, how many a times, we have had to use our personal rapport with people and ensure that the said task is done.
Processes do help, but not always, ask any CMMI level 5 company, the truth would be bitter than what you and I would ever imagine.
After all we are Human Beings
Let’s be honest on this front, that all of us have an element of Ego, otherwise you and I would not survive. Ego is an essential part of our life, I am afraid but to admit, that people would lie if they stated that they have no Ego. It would be a blunt lie.
We as humans always have believed that we are right and the other side of fence is different or incorrect, we rarely have the courage to admit that we are wrong.
There’s also the question of kindness. Say you agree to judge a contest and you’re asked to give feedback on each submission, But the partials you read are all really terrible. How do you give helpful feedback that won’t totally destroy someone else’s ego and leave them unable to work at all when you really think the answer is, “Try again.” It’s a hard balance between bald truth and constructive criticism, and sometimes there’s just nothing constructive to be said. The project is flawed. I’m not good at this, even now, and have started avoided judging contests for this reason.
Other situations will arise, like when you’re asked to review a document and the same just doesn’t work for you. There are techniques one needs to learn to manage without hurting anybody’s feelings. It all contributes to the fine art of ego management.