Why There Is No Room For An Ego In The Workplace
In any environment where business is to be done, you're bound to invest a lot of blood and sweat, but it's important that the tears be left out of the equation if success is a priority.
In a space in which so much hard work is being devoted to the betterment of a brand or product, in which so much effort, focus and concentration is directed towards a goal, the last thing needed is emotions getting in the way. There is, quite simply, no room for feelings in the workplace.
"In an overly nice culture, it's as though employees are flying blind, with no way to find out how they need to improve," wrote Forbes contributor Erika Andersen. "It's a huge opportunity cost; most employees don't achieve their potential because they don't hear about what they're doing well and badly."
It is, understandably, hard to eliminate an emotional factor when it comes to your work.
You've invested time into it; it's yours and there's bound to be an attachment. Criticism can't come your way without your being ready to put up a defense. However, this defense should never come at the expense of progressive conversation.
The harsh truth is that, in the workplace -- in business or an environment where some type of work is to be done -- your feelings are a non-factor, unimportant. Thus, if you make your feelings a priority, and force others into a sense of apprehension when it comes to delivering constructive criticism, you're bound to suffer.
"When you're trying to change things, you have to be willing to openly discuss and debate the pros and cons of various possibilities," Andersen says. "If people are more concerned with being polite and not hurting each others' feelings than they are about figuring out how to do things differently – innovation is impossible."
It's hard to argue against Andersen's point. After all, tackling the toughest goals requires a strong sense of focus and tunnel vision. Feelings are a distraction to that focus and, like most distractions, detrimental to success.
Instead of allowing emotions to get in the way when constructive criticism should be freely thrown about, it may be best to keep focus on the product and not the people.
When a team member attacks your style of work, it's the product to keep in mind. Consider what their words mean for the overall product. When a reader says your blog isn't up to par, it's the improvement of the projects, which you ultimately spend hours upon executing, that matters most.
None of this, by the way, has to come at the expense of friendship or, more importantly, respect. In fact, if you are a part of a true team, with true camaraderie, then you can feel more secure in giving and receiving criticism than most, with the knowledge that your comrade's comments are made with good intentions.
"Within a culture of trust and respect, a great leader can mentor and guide an employee in the discovery of the 'blind spots' that are holding each of us back," said Forbes' David Williams. "Team members learn and grow together to achieve seemingly impossible goals."
On the way to achieving those goals, there is, indeed, no room for feelings in the workplace, particularly when it comes to handling business and separating the rights from the wrongs. In those cases, remember that only the end product matters, because it's the prosperity of the end product -- not the protection of your feelings -- that ultimately drives success.
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