Before you walk into your next meeting, take off your ego coat.
Research has shown that when we sit down in a room with our colleagues, much of our energy is devoted to ‘status management’ - modifying our behaviour based on our perceived status relative to the others in the room. In short, this behaviour causes us to hold back our ideas, to support clearly doomed innovations from our boss, and to ‘wait and plan’ instead of ‘try, fail, try, fail, try, succeeed’. Essentially, our egos cause us to act in a way which detracts from our team’s performance.
The reason kindergarten children consistently outperform intelligent adults in the famous spaghetti tower experiment is that toddlers have no egos. Therefore, no time is wasted with “How will Jim react if I say this?” Or “I’ll wait and let the boss deliver her ideas first.”
Modern businesses are made of teams. The best teams cultivate environments which extract ideas and innovations from EVERYONE. Next time you lead a meeting, encourage everyone to 'take off their ego coat' before walking in the room, and enjoy the ride!