As a Manager, You’d Never Let Ego Get in the Way, Would You?

May 1, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

I want to share the following scenario for you to consider from your own management experience:

An interdepartmental project was well underway, involving three departments: Dept’s A and B, are more heavily involved than the third, C. Head of Dept A, Steve, has jumped in and taken on the project, he seems to be leading the project and directing the other managers. Directing the other managers actually a little too much according to Dept B’s manager, Bob. Dept C Manager, Judy, has only a small part to play in the project and is happy to be called in and given some detail and direction whenever needed. She seems happy to be part of the project, playing the minor role and is not as heavily invested (her time, effort and energy) as Bob and Steve.

Bob’s frustrated because he sees himself as just as able to lead the project and he’s also very concerned that at the end of it all Steve will take the glory. Steve’s always been a ‘glory hunter’ and Bob’s heard Steve’s staff sometimes grumble about how they do all the work, Steve does nothing but take the credit.

So what do you think Bob should do at this point in the project?

Some thoughts I have start with asking Bob just how important the project is to him? Is it really about the success of the project or getting the opportunity to shine (and shine brighter than Steve)?

From there, we may need to address any concerns about the success of the project; i.e. Who is the best person to lead the project? Who should have what responsibility? Is Steve a real risk to the project’s success?

As a management coach, my challenge to Bob is to have an open, equal and honest discussion with Steve to:

  • clarify roles and responsibilities;
  • set the ground rules for working as a team;
  • confirm methods and processes for communication through out the project;
  • how will we problem solve, conflict resolve, if (or when) issues arise; and
  • how will the project success be communicated and shared.

Having a conversation that attempts to even out the playing ground, especially once a project has started and leaders have emerged, can be challenging. Approaching the conversation with the mindset of wanting to set the scene for the success of the project and the team rather than gaining some power will help keep the conversation positive. An ‘us’ rather than ‘me’ attitude will definitely help.

I wonder how many projects or deals have fallen over because of perceived or real ego.

What do you do to keep your own ego in check?

Sally Foley-Lewis is an expert in fast tracking new manager productivity. She empowers new managers to develop the skills needed to be successful, effective and satisfied in their new manager role.

If you are a new manager or responsible for new managers, make sure the skills for success are in place: one-to-one online management skills coaching >>

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