News and articles

08.09.2010

Managing your Ego - K Sudarshan, Managing Partner, EMA Partners India

According to Marcum & Smith in their new book "Egonomics", ego is the invisible line item in a corporate balance sheet .How we invest ego in the way we work and the return ego delivers to us and the corporation depends entirely on the skill with which it is used. The pervasive power of ego manifests itself in every team conversation, board room debate, strategy, client interaction or employment interviews.
In a job search situation for a senior executive, ego plays a major role on both sides. In our experience it is critical to keep the following in mind to derive a positive outcome for all concerned.
As a Senior Executive
If you are approached by a search firm for a potential opportunity and you have prima facie interest, don't put up a 'hard to get' attitude. It can be easily seen through by seasoned recruiters and does not make you more valuable by any means. On the contrary it can send the wrong signals. Be candid and talk straight and even if you are not inclined at the first instance, be open, listen, absorb, take your time and convey your decision. This approach helps in building lasting positive relationships with the search firm.
Ensure that you maintain a positive ego through out your interaction, this means you don't jump at the opportunity and give an 'available' feeling. You could then be taken for granted in the process and face several rescheduled meetings, middle of the day meetings and so on. Ensure that your self esteem is not compromised. Even if you have exited from your previous company or on a really bad wicket ensure that your body language is not a give away. Be flexible and make a genuine effort in schedule management to make meetings happen. Positive attitude comes before everything else.
As you meet with your potential employers demonstrate your interest at all times even as you seek more information and be clear about your goals and clearly communicate what you want. Most negotiations fall through where there is lack of mutual trust and transparency in discussions. Even if you are aborting the discussions do it with grace and it is important not to burn bridges.
If you are the hiring manager
Even if you have a great employer brand, external or lateral hires need to be wooed in these times. Once you have zeroed in on the right candidate it is the "woo factor" which will determine whether you manage to hire him in your team. Senior executives love to be pampered and must be made to feel wanted in the hiring organization. This is critical especially when his existing organization will deploy all tactics in the book to retain him and he will be under severe pressure.
Respect the candidate, his time and the effort he is making to come and share his experience with you. Ensure he is made comfortable and his confidentiality is not compromised. Even if you do not find him suitable do not disengage abruptly. Hiring managers in successful organizations at times suffer from a huge ego which makes it difficult to appreciate a candidates' point of view and often discussions falter.
Successful leaders devote a major part of their time in identifying and wooing the right people for their organizations, which ultimately will determine the sustained long term success of their enterprise.



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