Questions to ask yourself to manage your ego when working with others

question mark on a sticky note against grained wood

The best collaborations happen when all team members keep their egos in check and focus on their contribution to the shared mission. But this can be so tricky! This is one of the reasons we have chosen collaboration as a key them for our forthcoming MAD World Summit on 12th October.

As we discussed in this article, managing your ego is an ongoing process – one of the quickest, most grounding ways to get you back on track is asking yourself questions when you feel your ego starting to rear its head.

This list of questions below was inspired by interviewing these collaboration experts, quoted in this original article on ego:

Sir Ian Cheshire, Chair of Land Securities, Chairman of Channel 4, Chairman of Spire Healthcare Group, and chair of Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, as well as the Chair of We Mean Business Coalition – as well as one of our keynote speakers at MAD World Summit on 12th October 2023

Dame Carole Black, DBE, FRCP, former President of the Royal College of Physicians and British Government adviser on the relationship between work and health. Also one of our keynote speakers at MAD World Summit on 12th October 2023.

Deb Mashek, PhD, a business advisor, professor, higher education administrator, and national nonprofit executive, as well as author of Collabor(h)ate: how to build incredible collaborative relationships at work

Becky Hall, an accredited life coach, leadership consultant and is the author of The Art of Enough

Antoinette Oglethorpe, formerly Learning and Development Director for Accenture and is now a coach and author of Confident Career Conversations: Empower Your Employees for Career Growth and Retention

Before entering the meeting ask yourself:

How am I feeling?

How is my body feeling?

Am I stressed from what I’ve been doing before?

Can I take a few breaths to reset and refocus on giving my best to the task in front of me?

Am I clear about the skills and strengths I am bringing to the table?

Am I clear about the skills and strengths my team mates are bringing to the table?

Join our growing network of employers
Receive Make A Difference News straight to your inbox

Can I remind myself of what’s the benefit to me – and them – of my involvement in this collaboration?

How do I want to feel when I’m in this meeting?

How do I want the other people to feel?

In the meeting ask yourself:

Am I helping create the conditions for others to say what they think and contribute their skills and strengths?

Am I open to hearing different views to my own?

Am I asking others for their views?

Am I really listening for their reply, rather than thinking about what I’m going to say next?

Am I showing that I am invested, and believe in, our shared purpose?

Do I understand the different thinking styles of the people around me?

What do they know, that I don’t know, which could be of value to advancing our shared interest?

Am I focused on my individual concerns, or am I focused on the purpose bigger than me?

Am I considering the impact my comments are having on others in the team?

If anger arises in the meeting ask yourself:

Can I take a pause to ensure I am responding and not reacting to the anger I am feeling?

Is the way I am responding to my anger constructive and mission-orientated, rather than destructive and all about me?

Am I trying to be right, rather than trying to understand my collaborators?

Is this thing I’m upset about actually a deal-breaker, or can I let it go for the greater good?

Can I be curious rather than furious?

After the meeting ask yourself:

How am I thinking and feeling now?

Did I give my best?

Did I bring out the best in others?

What went well?

What could be improved?

You may also like:


Sign up to receive Make A Difference's fortnightly round up of features, news, reports, case studies, practical tools and more for employers who want to make a difference to work culture, mental health and wellbeing.