A lot has been written about how big egos are one of the most harmful aspects in teams and companies. Typically, people associate big egos with individualisms, selfishness and all sorts of other elements of not team players. In my experience, the truth is a little more complicated than that.
While I agree that big egos can almost always be somewhat harmful to team dynamics, I think they can be used as a catalyzer for many aspects of the team if they are backed by the right level of talent and accomplishment. On the other hand, I’ve always find that the most harmful and vicious type of big-egos are the ones coming from mediocrely talented and not accomplished people.
My reasoning here is very simple: For the most part, talented and accomplished people have high aspirations and don’t get let their egos get on the way of small things that might impede them to accomplish great things (that can in turn bust their egos even more J ). Under the right conditions, highly talented folks can use their egos as a motivator and drive the rest of the team with them.
Contrary to this group, you will often encounter people that are not very talented, haven’t built or accomplished anything worth talking about in life but still manage to nurture a big ego related to some minor achievements that, sometimes, are relevant to people that share their same limited vision of the world. I find these types of people the most harmful in a team environment. As anyone with big egos, the mediocrely-talented folks would love to be successful and accomplished but lack the talent or vision to do achieve that by themselves and also the character to rely on more talented people to lead them. Instead, mediocrely-talented people operate in a sort of small distortion field and always try to drive attention to themselves related to not important things.
If you are working on a team environment, you are likely to easy identity the mediocrely-talented people with big egos. They are the ones arguing about the non-important things and constantly highlighting how hard they are working on that problem that nobody cares about. They are the people that think that everyone else around them is an idiot but still can’t manage to deliver anything great and always have someone else to blame for their failures (most likely the rest of the team). I’ve certainly encountered a few of those in my professional career and so have you.
Whether you are building a business or delivering a great project that you care about, my advice would be to, without hesitation, get rid of the mediocrely-talented big egos around you. They will only cause harm and, like any other mediocre soul, they will always find pleasure working on some other non-important thing that they can take all the credit for.