We all remember Tom Cruise pleading to his egotistical wide-receiver played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Maguire, “Help Me – Help You!”
Even as I watch the scene today I can feel Tom’s pain. You see someone who is making things so much tougher on themselves (and you) because they are unwilling to put their ego aside.
Help me – help you!
But the ego does not want to be helped. The ego wants to be right! The ego wants to feel victimized and justified. These might be two of the most detrimental qualities to our growth. Both of them take the responsibility and accountability off of us, and allow us to place it conveniently on anything or anyone other than us.
Do you ever see this showing up in your workplace?
Do you ever hear any of these thoughts coming out of your mouth:
- “[Insert department] always misses their deadlines so that I can’t get my work done.”
- [Insert person] is so inflexible and micromanaging – I just can’t do my job!”
- “It’s the economy’s fault!”
- “My [insert person] is an idiot!”
- “No one listens to me.”
Help me – help you!
No team can operate at a high-level when everyone is pointing fingers at each other. Yet in reality, this is often the case. In improvisation, real collaboration is about working with one another – supporting one another – and trying to make each other look like a genius.
The ego wants to have the best idea – but when you are in a collaboration mindset – the “team” owns the idea – not the person.
This is tough for anyone, even the seasoned improviser. Ego wants it all, and unless you are able to keep your own ego in check, it will eventually sabotage any team or relationship you have.
We do a lot of corporate training. In reality, we should be doing more. Very few companies spend time building this kind of selfless mindset. And actually it’s not about killing the ego (because we all have one) – it is about realizing that true success is only possible when we are able to collaborate with others. In the end, it’s a “win-win” because your ego still feels good about itself, yet it was a team effort that made it possible.
Don’t believe me?
That’s just your ego talking.