Ego deadlock in organisations
The ego needs to be respected as an important contributor to peaceful coexistence. It establishes clear boundaries about acceptable treatment, and expresses clear indications of the presence or risk of abuse. However, in some cases its fear of abuse has been crystallized in childhood, and that person would tend to be stuck in a fearful attitude occasionally, even when there are no threatening circumstances. When two such persons are together in a meeting, then the risk of ego deadlock is strong. And if truth be told - we are all, to some extent, such a person sometimes!
Saying No to such an ego can work if you have the power and position. How did Alexander deal with the Gordian Knot? He cut it! But that strategy may well create more problems than it solves. It's better to unravel than to dominate. The Hello strategy would be to do with attention and exchange. Listen carefully to what the person actually says, try to understand their perspective, even repeat back what they say until the egotist has received enough attention. Alternatively, you could offer something they want in exchange for their being willing to rein in their own ego!
The Thanks approach is to form rapport, and by so doing make them feel safer. Imagine arriving at a business meeting where the boss hands out a chocolate and then spends a minute or two chatting amiably and unhurriedly with each participant. People feel safer and more self-confident when they are truly appreciated for who they are, as well as what they have done or can do.
A Goodbye approach may be needed. Take the person aside privately and thrash out the declared and undeclared issues fully and finally to the point of resolution. Let them get it off their chest. Then say 'OK - my way or the highway' - and be willing to move on to the highway yourself if you get the wrong answer. In other words, confront. Confront fully, with all your power and absolute integrity; break that which cannot be repaired.
One method that was employed to good effect was an attempt to reduce racial tension in an inner city location. Football matches were arranged so that each team included a mix of races. It was found that the shared goal of winning the match was sufficient to overcome prejudice. This is the Please method - cooperative vision.
At a fairly advanced level of awareness, any of us can soften the egotistical stances of another by softening our own. Humility works wonders - admission of one's own imperfections and willingness to see ourselves from that other person's point of view. This 'reflexive-self-consciousness' is the golden rule of spiritual awareness, and is the Sorry way - since it is forgiving and of high conscience.
Perhaps the neatest solution is tolerance. There's an ego deadlock! So what? There always is, there always will be. Let's work with it. We could try to see more deeply, feel with more subtlety, focus our desire less determinedly - until the atmosphere is trusting enough to allow consensus to emerge.
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