A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you

You’re Not That Great or Important

I got a call the other day…a desperate one at that…to help resolve a touchy employee relations problem. The problem at hand involved nearly twenty professionals.  I use the word “professionals” loosely as they demonstrated anything but professionalism. Name calling, back stabbing, hostility, aggressiveness…you name it, they offered it.


How does a team get this way?  

How does it get this bad?


Notwithstanding the manager’s failure to manage the problem months ago, I contemplated what I was seeing and hearing and quickly realized there were pretty simple reasons why this large group of people weren’t getting along.


I work with teams all the time, and have seen my share of dysfunction.  They all have things in common, and ego and selfishness are among them.



In my opinion, when it comes to Egos, we need to practice what that silly commercial encouraged us to do a long long time ago.  L’eggo!

eggo(Ok, technically, this was about processed frozen food but the point is still valid…let go of it or there will be trouble!)

There is no “I” in “TEAM”!

How many times do we have to hear that silly phrase to practice it? 

Of course we should take pride in our role, take accountability for our activities, and be pleased when we have done well.

Personal accomplishment and personal satisfaction play a critical role in how we engage at work.

But our ego?   Whether it’s inflated or deflated, we need to leave it at the door and get to work.



I believe selfishness destroys a team’s success.

Psychologists claim that selfishness is really a result of “fear” – we are afraid if we do something for others, we’ll lose control of things happening to ourselves. We are afraid that if we give time to others, we won’t have enough for ourselves.  We are afraid that if we offer our minds, our hearts, our thoughts, etc., they’ll be rejected, scorned, abused, etc.

I don’t know about that fear thing…I supposed there is truth in it.

Regardless, this is fact:

There are too many people taking care of their own needs first, often in total disregard to the needs of others.

It’s childish, sometimes spiteful, and incredibly inefficient. It does more damage than good and it needs to stop. Whether it’s giving of our time, our talent, our information, or otherwise, we must do it.

We must give to others, share with others, or simply help others. We don’t need special skills or expertise; we need only to open our minds to the thought that someone else’s needs are more important than our own.


I love Patrick Lencioni’s book, “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” – if you haven’t read it, I strongly encourage you to do so. Mr. Lencioni points out that above all else, team members need to trust each other.  Indeed, trust is critical. However, equally significant is this:

Trust cannot be obtained if my ego is in the way.
Trust cannot be found when I’m only looking out for me, myself and I.


AppreciationEmployee EngagementEmployee RelationsEngagementFairnessHappinessHostile Work EnvironmentHuman ResourcesLeadershipPerformance ManagementProfessionalismTeamworkWorkforce Satisfaction

Heather Kinzie • November 4, 2013

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