What comes to mind when you think of someone with a huge ego?

Big ego = big trouble. Especially in the workplace.

Image of young businessman showing superhero suit underneath hisGreat leaders keep their egos in check. The ego exists, but in a healthy state.

Researchers Jack J. Bauer and Heidi A. Wayment define this as a quiet ego, or an ego “less concerned with self-promotion than with the flourishing of both the self and others.”

the term quiet ego conveys the notion that the core problems of egotism deal with the individual’s screaming for attention to the self. Far from meaning a “squashed” or “lost” ego, we see in the quiet ego a self-identity that is not excessively self-focused but also not excessively other-focused—an identity that incorporates others without losing the self.

People who operate with a quiet ego are the ones we choose to work for, want on our teams, seek as friends and who we prefer to do business with.

Eight Ways to Quiet Your Ego

Dial up your leadership and turn down the volume of your ego.

  1. Stop talking at listening.
  2. Practice meditation.
  3. Seek ideas and opinions from people outside your circle.
  4. Know what you don’t know and keep learning.
  5. Conduct an Egos Anonymous session.
  6. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses.
  7. Connect with people on a deeper level.
  8. Give people the benefit of the doubt.

There’s nothing wrong with a healthy sense of self. But do your career (and all of us) a favor and counterbalance your ego with a generous dose of humility.

Marta Steele is a Partner at PeopleResults. Connect with her on Twitter @MartaSteele.