How egosystems can destroy workplace ecosystems

Sure, global warming is real but what is really heating up the emotions of “George” is having to deal with the organizational “egosystem” within his “ecosystem” of teamwork. And yes, he is seeing a major and threatening workplace climate change that is on target to destroy his world of work.

An organizational ecosystem is one that connects people together, shows great evidence of communication, trust, sharing, collaboration, accountability, and delivering on responsibilities. An organizational ecosystem is like all ecosystems. A combination of multiple, integrated parts that feel the impact when even one part changes in a positive or negative way.

A team leader (supervisor, manager, “higher-ups”) within an ecosystem demonstrates certain attitudes and behaviors. They take both credit with the group in mind and their acknowledgement. They take blame like a lightening rod regardless of the source. They “have your back.” The team leader provides opportunities for mentorship and growth. When asked to present the team’s work to others, including top executives, they find ways to bring in colleagues who played a major role. Their language is sprinkled with “us” and “we.”

An organizational egosystem is all about one person and how great they are. “Leaders” betitled with words like “supervisor, manager, director, executive director” (add your choice of rank or position) also display certain attitudes and behaviors. They take credit from others without acknowledging the person’s or team’s work. In a presentation to the brass they use the words “I” and “me” extensively without mentioning the work of others. The thought of bringing in a supporting member of a project, someone who played a major role, is seen as a major threat to their egosystem.

So why is our friend George (above) heating up? Becuase the organizational climate change he is seeing from the destructive egosystem is quickly cratering job satisfaction, morale, emotional and physical wellness, and the ability of his team and workplace to focus on their purpose.

How do egosystems continue unabated in a workplace? I submit it’s the same reason the big-picture natural ecosystem and extreme climate change are being ignored and tossed off like burnt toast by many in positions of power. Maybe it’s just too threatening to the many egos that create and support organizational egosystems, and at a larger scale, environmental climate change, to simply accept the fact that if things continue as they are, our workplace climates and our big picture global climate is heading for a meltdown.

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