No doubt there’s been some point in your career when your work was under consideration, or a client or coworker seemed to be steering the project in a way that undervalued your contribution.

Ted Leonhardt, former global creative director of FITCH Worldwide, discusses a few key steps to help you prevent letting your ego sabotage your career and relationships at work.

You aren’t the only person with expertise. 

Sure, you have a set of skills and understandings, just like Diego has a design degree and years of experience. But the other party has expertise and wisdom, too. It just isn’t the same as yours. Think about how to incorporate their perspective and use it to serve the greater good that you have a shared interest in.

Great ideas can come from anywhere. 

You don’t know who might end up offering the most valuable insights–but it may not be you. It’s just as likely that someone in the C-suite has a great (or terrible!) idea as it is that someone in the mailroom or on the factory floor does. If you’re worried there are too many cooks in the kitchen, keep in mind that they all do know how to cook–even if their tastes and specialities are different than yours.

You may know a lot, but you don’t know everything. 

Having expertise is a good thing, but having a closed mind is not. Be ready to learn. Practice what’s referred to in Buddhism as a “beginner’s mind.” Approach things not from the perspective of what you already know but by actively seeking out what you don’t.

You might be focusing on the wrong things. 

Sometimes your ego can get in the way of what’s best. Many people get more focused on outcomes–and how an outcome will reflect on them–than on process, when process is just as important. Learning from multiple perspectives can help you learn to produce better work and appear more receptive at work.


This post was originally published in January 2016 on FastCompany.com. TheYoungProfessionalGroup.com takes no credit for the work of the author.

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