How to destroy a working relationship: Ego

I recently read Ryan Holiday's book 'Ego is the Enemy', which I found very thought-provoking. If you're like me, you'd expect to understand the content of the book just by hearing the title, however, according to Ryan, that would be your ego talking.

Listing to all the stories of clients over the past few years, and thinking back over my own personal career challenges, disagreements with colleagues and growth struggles, I was struck by how much of it can relate back to ego being a central component. 

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Anti-fragile

"What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” Well, while that’s not quite true, we all get the idea. That’s also the premise of Nassim Taleb’s book ‘Antifragiel’ which talks about how various stress on different systems (from the human body to the financial markets) actually benefit from temporary stress because it allows them to develop great resilience and long-term strength. For example, going to the gym to put your body under temporary stress will ‘weaken’ your muscles for the day but strengthen them overall. Dealing with challenging new situations in work is often stressful, but prepares us for doing that in the future.

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Learning to say 'no'

You might be surprised to find out that some people find it difficult to say 'no'. Perhaps they think it's rude, impolite or inflexible. It's not. Of course, it's always good to show a collaborative spirit, to be open to change, constructive criticism, and to do things that are in the best interest of the group (within reason). 

However, if something is clearly negative for the person involved, it's important to be able to have the difficult conversation; to say 'no'; or ask for what you really want (e.g. more money, time, responsibility). With that in mind, you have to find your own comfortable way of saying it but here are some examples:

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