Like many words that get popular attention, the definition of "ego" has been distorted and diluted.
In psychological terms, our ego begins as an awareness of ourself as a separate (from our mother) person. After that our ego becomes the liaison between our internal world (our mind) and the external world (other people).
Much of that liaison work is the ego acting as an interpreter between those two worlds, although it also (especially as we get older) acts as a shield that protects sensitive parts of us.
Self-esteem and ego are often talked about together since they tend to rise and fall together. When my self esteem is threatened, it’s my ego that reacts and responds.
Some of my coaching clients are searching for jobs right now. Some apply but get no response, some are deciding what work they want to do, and some are just tired. All are frustrated, which leads to I'm-not-good-enough feelings, which lead to self-recrimination, which leads to less effective job searching.
The constant refrain: Why am I not better at this job search business?
I'm working on a book about performance management, so I'm reading articles and other books about the subject to see what's out there. Overall I'm finding a focus on front-line managers, and on achieving organizational results. What about more senior leaders?
If asked, I suspect the executives in most organizations would believe everyone learns good performance management skills as a front line leader and takes that skill into higher level roles.
But based on anecdotes and my review of articles and books so far, my hypothesis is that this is a gap for mid- and senior-level leaders.
Disclaimer: I write non-fiction (Measuring Success), short stories, plays, and pretty much everything else based on my inspiration. This blog post is not about measurement, so opt in or out as you're inspired.
Like many people in the US and around the world, I watched George Floyd get murdered on television in the summer of 2020. It was awful, as was the murders on video of other Black people last year. And in other years, and those not caught on video. I just assumed there was nothing I could do, and so for a couple weeks I did nothing. Then I started talking about it.
I just looked and saw that my last blog post was March 23, 2020. Back then, COVID-19 was mere weeks old and we were facing the possibility of a 30-day lockdown to get it under control. 30 whole days, can you believe it?
A lot has happened since then that you don't need me to tell you about. So instead, I want to talk about New Year's Resolutions, and you are invited to join me.
COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the newly discovered novel coronavirus, is (as I write this) a growing global pandemic. It's also measurable in several different ways including R0, a measure of how many people will be newly infected by a contagious person, essentially measuring the spread of the virus.
You probably think this is easy, and it kind of is, but there are some details worth poking at. If you sell a product for $10, that's $10 in gross sales. If the product cost you $8 to make, then you have $2 in net sales. All done, right? Well, mostly. The purpose of collecting data is to drive action. So what action can you take with the data above? Not much, it turns out. Like other measures, sales should should be expressed in terms of your sales strategy.
The problem with measuring safety is that you're actually measuring the absence of something (injury). You can take no measurable action and get lucky by having no workplace injuries, or you can take tons of measurable actions and get tons of injuries. We improve processes by using past patterns to take future action, but "past patterns" in safety means someone got hurt, or worse. So the trick is looking for the patterns that took place before the injury and measuring (and improving) those.
When my whole job was measuring things, I used to say anything is measurable (I still do). "Yes", people would say, "but what about LEADERSHIP, everyone knows you can't measure that!" they would chortle, thinking they had caught me and that my obvious response would be a sheepish "Yeah, you're right about that one!"
I never said that.