Managing Egocentricity in the Office to Help Improve Employee Productivity

The overly egocentric employee is a problem that we’re all too familiar with. Either as managers or employees it is not uncommon these days to have to deal with a overly egocentric, dominant person (usually male) that somehow manages to continually ruin any constructive work-related discussion through their need to be heard or their complete lack of consideration of any ideas other than their own. These people can have a corrosive and damaging affect on workplace productivity. Their overbearing nature can cause fellow workmates to “withdraw” from active participation in group discussions which results in a reduction in the number of creative ideas and/or available solutions to a problem. They can also reduce the general harmony of the office “culture” which is incredibly important for maintaining a satisfied and productive workplace. Those workmates that choose to “take on” the office egomaniac end up frustrated and weary at constantly having to resist their dominating presence.

So what to do? The good news for managers is that in this situation there are several key steps that can be taken to help nullify the effect of egocentricity in the workplace and even harness the force of those ego-driven employees that strive for success.

  1. Procedure – procedure can be a wonderful way of subduing the effects of overly dominant employees while at the same time improving workflow. Establishing a procedure is easy enough but getting people to follow it can be another battle entirely! This is where the overly egocentric employee can become a genuine positive force in the workplace. You need to make them the champion of procedure. Somehow ensure that they are responsible for the deployment of procedure throughout the workplace. This will ensure that procedure is followed which, and (if it’s the right procedure) it will have a positive impact on the office.
  2. Clear reporting channels – everyone has a supervisor. The best way to ensure that an overly egocentric employee is kept on a tight rein is to establish clear and regular reporting channels. Have them regularly report to a supervisor, particularly when it comes to group work. This will ensure that they cannot become too oppressive of others. Often these type of personalities will be keen to impress their superiors so in the right environment this structure will not only serve to restrict their dominant behaviour it will encourage them to “perform for approval”.
  3. Reward good work – I know it sounds obvious but you’d be surprised at the low levels of positive reinforcement that get dished out in some modern offices. The best way to engender a positive sense of connection with your employees is to take the time to reward them for their efforts. Egocentric or not, everyone needs to be told that they are doing a good job from time to time.
  4. Keep them busy – there’s nothing like a mountain of work to get through to keep your egocentric employee focused, particularly if they’re prone to distracting others with their uninteresting stories often delivered at above average decibels. Keep the office loud mouth busy. If they have spare time then there’s a good chance they will use that time to distract other employees. Keep the work up to them and they’ll be less available to wander and it may even lift their productivity!
Having an office egomaniac is common in today’s society but with the right management they can become a valued member of any working environment. The other main benefit of managing these types of personalities is that their effects on the wider employee base are reduced, resulting in increased productivity in the office.

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