Learning to Collaborate with the Right EGO
Effective collaboration is not something that “just happens.” It must be cultivated. This is true in business, sports, and even marriage.
When things are going well, it’s easy to collaborate. Everyone is focused, filled with passion, and having fun. But not so much when there is chaos, and you’re under pressure to produce results.
So, what is the main barrier to effective collaboration?
The answer surfaced in a recent bufferchat – a weekly social media forum sponsored by Buffer (a useful app for managing social media posts) where people from around the world respond to questions on Twitter. The discussion topic was collaboration and a number of participants stated that the barrier to great collaboration is EGO.
“Leave egos outside. Everyone is in it together, willing to work hard to attain the same goal” - @GlendaVee
“It’s important to keep “egos” out of collaboration!” - @prateekkesharil
But is it really possible to remove EGO completely?
Those striving to lead like Jesus know that there is a “bad EGO” and a “good EGO.”
Bad EGO occurs whenever we “Edge God Out.” This happens when we rely on ourselves as the source of knowledge instead of God.
When we Edge God Out, we open the door to two major problems: pride and fear. Both of these will cause collaboration to fail.
- Collaboration fails when our pride gets in the way because we approach situations as “we know best.”
- Collaboration fails when we allow our fear to dominate our thinking and behavior, as it stops us from doing the right things, and can cause us to do the wrong things.
When it comes to collaboration, bad EGO – or Edging God Out – creates three problems:
- It fosters isolation that leads to separation.
- It causes harmful comparisons that lead to either arrogance or anxiety.
- It distorts the truth, making things look either more or less important than they really are.
So what’s the solution? Should we try and keep EGO out of collaboration?
There is something called good EGO, which occurs whenever we “Exalt God Only.” In the context of collaborating with others, this happens when we acknowledge that God is the source of knowledge and solutions to problems.
When we Exalt God Only, we open the door to conquer pride and fear with a powerful antidote:
- Humility replaces pride. Collaboration will succeed when we’re open to God providing answers and ideas from any avenue He chooses, and acknowledging our role versus His role.
- God-grounded confidence replaces fear. Collaboration will succeed when each member of the team has the courage to do what’s right in the sight of God (even if appears difficult to do), bringing honor to Him.
In the area of collaboration, good EGO – or Exalting God Only – fosters three benefits:
- It creates community. We work well with others.
- It creates contentment. We enjoy the process of working together.
- It creates an environment of truth. We see every situation the way God sees it.
So if you want to collaborate well with others, check your bad EGO at the door, and instead focus on Exalting God Only. He can cultivate an environment that maximizes everyone’s potential to find the best path forward.
By Robert and Lori Ferguson