Countering The Male Ego

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology after a research study in 2013, found that men don?t feel great about themselves, when their wives or girlfriends get successful, with their self-esteem dipping rather than feeling happy about their partners accomplishments. This research found evidence that men automatically interpret a partner’s success as their own failure, even when they’re not in direct competition.

The study?s authors point out that, men are inclined to be competitive whereas women are more likely to identify with a partner in a nurturing way and therefore, less likely to be threatened by her partner?s success. It?s bitter truth and most men don?t acknowledge it. This phenomenon carries on to the workplace too, which is still a man?s playground. At the workplace there is underlying feeling of exasperation in females, around the way male ego is expressed in the workplace. Men may differ significantly in the degree of potential amount of ego build up in them ? due to various environmental, genetic, and developmental factors that create different tensions or anxieties, but all of them have ego?s to protect. Researchers opine that basic desires and fears fuel ego, particularly the desire to succeed and the fear of failing.One of the most common ways of handling male ego is to be docile and saying yes to all the demands, thereby submitting to the male supremacy or stroking the sense of caregiver and Omni-powerful male. Here are other ways to deal with the male ego at the workplace.

Don?t make them feel out of control

Loss of control or the fear of not being in the riders seat is on of the biggest drivers of negative male ego, make sure that decisions are sounded off well in advance with your male counterpart or managers. Make a pitch to have your male colleagues actively participate in the transformation process that you wish to undertake. After you have done your homework and arrived at the framework for the decision, run it through your male colleagues, give them the rationale and ask them to review it for betterment, make sure that you give them time to mull over it, and psychologically get adjusted to the decision. In case they come back with a suggestion, see if it can be incorporated in the final output

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Being in control is a primate behavior in males, from the days when they used to be hunters and donned the role of leading the pack for hunting. The brain is wired to be this way, and it is better to recognize the pattern rather than asking why males are designed this way.

Don?t ignore the value framework

Find out what?s the most important value for your male colleagues, it could be creativity, team work, participative decision, equity, justice or relationships with friends and family. Then spend a few minutes thinking how your decision affects their personal values. Any decision or thoughts being proposed by you, that will contrast their personal value system will trigger negative male ego.

Help them see the bigger picture

In order to help people cope with your decision, its better to help them think about the bigger picture, they are likely to exercise self-control even if the decision may not be in their short term interest. By helping them see the bigger picture you and avoid the negative male from being triggered.

Its recommended that you work on this in advance, before you make a new recommendation, write down all the big-picture reasons as to why your recommendation is important to the organization. Share the rationale so that you can link your recommendations to the survival and betterment of the company. We are wired for survival, by showing the link to survival, you will reduce the chances of negative male ego being triggered.

Keep people with low self-esteem far off

There are something?s which you can solve and others need to be left the way it is. When you are dealing with a male colleague with low self-esteem, chances of triggering negative male ego are high. Chronically low self-esteem males are highly engrossed in the race to survive, they have not developed a reservoir of emotional capacity to respond effectively when confronted with high degree of anxiety or threat at workplace. The best way to deal with it is not to deal with it, avoid running your decisions through them, as you will hit a wall. If you don?t have an option, approach your HR manager to help the individual cope with workplace changes.

Jappreet Sethi
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