DEV Community

Cover image for Fight against your Ego!
José Thomaz
José Thomaz

Posted on

Fight against your Ego!

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool."

Managing your ego is crucial in any career. In software development isn't different, profesional with low ego can go further and advance more in their careers. When you reach a leadership position at work, knowing to control your ego becomes even more important, so I decided to write this article talking a little bit about the "Ego", based on the book:

Ego is the Enemy: The Fight to Master Our Greatest Opponent

Ego tells us what we want to hear, when we want to hear

Precisely what makes us so promising as thinkers, performers, creators, and entrepreneurs, and what leads us to the top of all these fields, also makes us vulnerable to the darker side of the psyche. It's that petulant child within each of us, who prefers to have their own way above all or anyone else. The need to be better than, more than, recognized by, far beyond any plausible utility - that's the ego.

Helping others is beneficial for you

If you show up, demonstrate that you are available and ready to help, you can be useful to the others. You don't need to always to desperately seek for higher positions, helping the others can be good for you in a long term game, people will remember you, you will receive praises and also good opportunities because of those days in the past that you left your ego behind and did something good

Stick to the reality

Solved some critical problems at work? Learned a new tech? Got promoted? Well, congratulations! You are probably feeling very good, and you should, but stay alert to your own thoughts sou you don't end up leaving your feet off the ground.

I mean, you can and you must celebrate your achievements, but you can't let this make you think that you are "more", or to disturb your self-evaluation capacity. If you are too in love with your own job you will get an illusion that you are already on the beach, and then... you might drown because you didn't saw the wave coming right behind you

Balance self-promotion and hard work

You have to promote yourself, self-marketing, tell the others that you are good and worth their time, this is 100% important, but don't exaggerate. Don't promise more than you can deliver, and also don't spend more time promoting yourself than the necessary. You have to save some time for the hard work as well, to in fact do what you have promised, otherwise the mask you use will fall at some point.

Be a leader, not a boss

A high position in a company doesn't entitle you to boss people around, be authoritarian, or mean. While your ego might tell you otherwise, remember that true authority stems from respect, leading by example, and trust. If your team doesn't believe in you, authoritarian tactics will only undermine your authority, you will end up loosing power anyway.

Practice self-awareness

Develop the capacity to detect if you are doing something to be useful, or if you are ust doing it to feed your own ego. Having self-awareness is very important and benefic because we become able to be critical with ourselves and to notice when our ego is trying to show up.

Regularly ask yourself: Do I really need this? Am I doing this for myself or for external validation/attention?

Be careful with the shortcuts

Shortcuts can save time, but be careful not to take every single one you encounter. Some shortcuts may harm you in the long run. Sometimes, taking the more difficult path is worthwhile, as it offers greater learning opportunities.

Your ego craves results and external validation, making shortcuts appealing. However, rationally analyze and weigh whether a shortcut is truly beneficial. I won't tell to always avoid shortcuts because this is impossible, balance is the key!

You are not better than anyone just because you came from a good college/company

Not much to say about this one. Just that your alma mater or previous company don't make you better than anyone else. There are very skilled people outside your college or former-company.

Embrace lifelong learning

Always be learning and consider yourself an apprentice. Regardless of your prestigious education or experience with top tech companies, there will always be something new to learn.

Are you lying to yourself?

Are you? Think about that.

Top comments (0)