Although I have been retired from wedding planning for three years now, as a blogger and features editor, I still work in and around the event industry. As a result, I remain exposed to the non-stop drama that takes part in this creative business. And, in my experience, where there is creativity, there is ego. A whole LOT of it.
The event industry is loaded with talented, lovely people who are blessed with signature strengths and sensational skills. But, who also have some major flat spots that make collaborating with them a real friggin’ challenge. Working with one super-sized ego is hard enough, but bring many egos into a single team and things get downright ugly. Who brought the client in? Who is the biggest player? Who is the most successful? Who has been around the longest? Who has the biggest following on Twitter?
Wouldn’t it be fabulous to reap the rewards of yet another successful event without having to deal with all the bluster? Or, the manipulation and drama that completely messes with the objective everyone was hired for in the first place? Namely, a successful, well-produced wedding or event.
Question is, how do you navigate through all the ego when you’re trying to build an effective team of event professionals?
Kick Them Right Off Their Pedestals
When folks are truly gifted at something, whether that’s cooking or designing flowers, it’s very easy to be so dazzled by their talent or accomplishments that we are totally blind to their weaknesses. Even superstars and self-proclaimed celebrities are human. Let’s be honest, most of us humans ARE flawed. What a shocker, huh? But some clever people hide their flaws better than others, some find ways to compensate, and the very best acknowledge their weaknesses and do everything they can to improve them.
The ones to worry about, and RUN FROM, are those who act as though they are flawless or that their flaws simply don’t matter, behaving as though the world ought to ignore their outrageous behavior. They expect the rest of us to cut them more slack, and all too often that’s just what we do. Of course what makes the most sense is continuing to recognize their talents and strengths, but through realistic open eyes. Knock down those pedestals. Take off those rose colored glasses. Broaden the definitions and see each event professional with honesty in the moment.
Insist on Being Treated with Respect
Basically, you get what you give. If you treat someone with respect, you should expect the same in return. However, if that’s not happening from the “ego players” on your team then you need to call them on it. Insist on being treated with respect and professionalism. Rather than suffer in silence, I have found that standing up for yourself and hitting bad behavior right SMACK! between the eyes works far better for everyone in the long run. Your direct approach may even provoke a nasty initial response, but so what. Better to curtail it than let it take the whole team down with the ship. The truth is that most dominant people respect dominance in others, even when they don’t agree with the content of the message. In the best case you will have garnered some respect, and at the very least you will have removed yourself from a non-productive relationship.
Take a Long Hard Look in the Mirror
There is no better place to take stock of EGO than in the mirror. Where does your own ego stand? Are you a legend in your own mind? What is your impact on others? Perhaps it’s time to take a long, hard look in the mirror and see just how your ego rates in the whole scheme of things. Again, you get what you give. If you project ego, you’ll get ego. It’s all about attraction and reflection. Be honest. Step down off that pedestal and get real.
Kick their Asses to the Curb
Okay, you’ve identified the egomaniacs, you’ve insisted they treat you with respect and then cleaned up your own attitude and still the team is not playing nice together. Face it, something has to change. Someone has to go. If an event professional doesn’t know how to work as a team player, don’t work with them. Period. Whether they are “the best” or a “celebrity” ~ who cares? If they can’t think beyond themselves, you don’t need them. Build a team without them. Build a team that functions – go figure – as a team, not a committee of dueling agendas. Sometimes that shitty, self-centered behavior can lead to real problems among the team: last minute planning, failed communication with the client or within the team, withheld product, and/or stifled creativity. All of which just impacts the success of the event. Which, then trickles down to reputation, repeat business, client appreciation and financial liability. Not to mention sucking all the joy out of the project.
Consider the Bigger Picture
On a team of event professionals the client’s interests are integrated for the good of the whole group. On a committee, individual parochial interests are defended at each other’s expense. You’ve got to turn the committee of egos into a team of professionals, make them believe only the team can prevail.
Ego only gets in the way.
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| Posted in Event Industry