How to avoid conflict with a big ego (and still stand your ground)

Welcome to “Beyond Words” a weekly newsletter where I share public speaking and personal development tips.

I’m living and working in Nice, France for 2 months and write to you from here.

Today at a glance:

  • A dialogue from a Netflix show that demonstrates a script for managing a big ego
  • Other scripts that are helpful for managing a big ego in the workplace
  • How to join the waitlist for my Mastermind Class of 2025

 

What are some great scripts for managing someone with a “big ego.”

Yesterday, I published this post on how to manage people who are smarter than you.

Often ‘smarter than you’ goes hand in hand with ‘big ego.’

What are some great scripts for managing this archetype of person in the workplace?

I’ve been watching the Netflix show “Owning Manhattan,” about the real estate industry in New York City. Serendipitously broker Tricia Lee goes into her boss’s office to lobby for meatier projects. It perfectly demonstrates “how to manage a big ego,” given that her boss does billion dollar deals.

I break down the dialogue:

👩🏻 Female broker:

“I want to come to you when I need.”

💪🏼What does this do? Right out of the gate, it shows how smart she is. She is level setting the conversation and recognizing his expertise. It immediately assigns him an important role.

👩🏻 Female broker:

“I feel good about my sales. I’ve caught my stride.”

💪🏼What does this do? It shares her own influence and the successful environment they both contribute to.

👩🏻 Female broker:

“But I feel the price point, the properties aren’t growing the way that I need it to.”

💪🏼What does this do? It calls out the current deficit.

👩🏻 Female broker:

“It’s not enough to just kill it in Brooklyn. I see myself selling $20MM properties in Manhattan.”

💪🏼What does this do? It shares the desired wish with complete specificity.

👩🏻 Female broker (and this is my favorite part)

“I feel like there are so many opportunities I see in the company, so many great buildings. I want to be a part of those conversations. I’m telling you I can deliver the results, but I have to be given the opportunity.”

💪🏼What does this do? Rather than sit in the resentment, she gracefully (and confidently) advocates for herself to the person who can grant bigger and meatier projects.

👩🏻 Female broker:

“And that’s really why I partnered with you.

It was because I knew how big and bright your star was.

But I wanted to build something great as well.”

💪🏼What does this do? It validates her boss’ ability to do big things, but a shared desire to not sit on the sidelines. Rather she wants to do the same and learn at his feet.

👩🏻 Female broker:

“And one day you can say ‘I had a hand in building Tricia Lee’s career,” she says with a fling of her hair.

💪🏼What does this do? It brings the conversation home. It appeals to his desire to create a legacy. It says, he builds successful careers. It shows his efforts make a difference in someone else’s professional life.

👱🏻‍♂️Male broker finally says:

You’re a good sales person.

You just played to my ego.

And it totally works.

He grants her a project to sell 115 units in a building built by a major developer in Manhattan. If she succeeds for him, he may grant her sales for other buildings.

Managing people who are not only smarter but also have big egos requires a dance between respect, assertiveness, and strategic communication Other scripts that could be helpful in managing a big ego.

Acknowledging Expertise and Ego

  1. Recognize Expertise with Respect:

    • “Your expertise in this area is truly impressive. I value your contributions and would love to hear your thoughts on our current strategy.”
    • “You have a strong track record of success in these projects. What do you think are the key factors we should focus on here?”
  2. Compliment with Specificity:

    • “The insights you provided in our last meeting were invaluable. Could you share more of your thoughts on this new development?”
    • “Your innovative approach has significantly impacted our progress. How do you envision taking this further?”

Encouraging Constructive Feedback

  1. Invite Input Respectfully:

    • “I’d really appreciate your perspective on this issue. Your feedback can help us improve our approach.”
    • “Your experience is crucial for our success. What improvements do you suggest for our current plan?”
  2. Frame Feedback as a Strength:

    • “Your ability to identify key issues is one of your strengths. What potential challenges do you see with our current strategy?”

Providing Support and Autonomy

  1. Empower with Responsibility:

    • “Given your expertise, how would you like to lead this project? I trust your judgment to guide us.”
    • “You have a clear vision for this. What steps do you propose we take next to ensure success?”
  2. Offer Support Without Undermining:

    • “Is there anything you need from me to help you execute your ideas more effectively?”
    • “How can I assist you in achieving our goals? Your leadership is key to our success.”

Recognizing Achievements and Efforts

  1. Celebrate Specific Achievements:

    • “Your work on this project has been outstanding. Can you share your key strategies with the team?”
    • “We couldn’t have achieved this without your expertise. Thank you for your significant contribution.”
  2. Acknowledge Efforts Authentically:

    • “I see how much effort you’ve put into this. Your dedication is truly inspiring.”
    • “Your commitment to excellence is evident in everything you do. Thank you for your hard work.”

Handling Mistakes with Diplomacy

  1. Normalize Mistakes Respectfully:

    • “Mistakes are part of the process. What can we learn from this to improve next time?”
    • “Let’s focus on how we can adjust our approach moving forward. Your insights here are crucial.”
  2. Stay Solution-Focused with Confidence:

    • “This didn’t go as planned, but I believe we can turn it around. What adjustments do you think we should make?”
    • “Challenges like these are opportunities for growth. How can we approach this differently?”

Showing Genuine Interest and Empathy

  1. Listen Actively and Respectfully:

    • “I’m here to listen to any concerns or ideas you have. What’s on your mind?”
    • “Your thoughts are important to me. How are you feeling about our current direction?”
  2. Express Empathy While Maintaining Boundaries:

    • “I understand this is a challenging situation. Let’s work together to find a solution.”
    • “I know this project is demanding, and I appreciate your hard work. How can I support you better?”

Setting Boundaries and Expectations

  1. Establish Clear Expectations:

    • “Your contributions are invaluable, but we need to ensure everyone has a voice. Let’s work together to balance input from the entire team.”
    • “I appreciate your strong opinions, but it’s important we consider all perspectives to make the best decision.”
  2. Address Overstepping Politely:

    • “I value your enthusiasm and expertise, but we need to ensure we’re working collaboratively. Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page.”
    • “Your insights are crucial, but we also need to give others the opportunity to contribute.”

__________________

I’m a recovering TV anchor who loves her scripts and arms her female clients with language to uphold boundaries in the workplace.


 

“What do you do?”

An often-asked question while I’ve been living and working here for 2 months.

The high level answer at the gym:

“I’m a TV presenter. I teach women how to do better public speaking,” I say.

If I have a more sophisticated audience, I expand further.

My ideal client is either

  • laying ground for her first public board seat
  • laying ground for a promotion
  • has switched professions
  • or is doing business development for clients

I’m helping her tell the right story for this transition.

A woman on a discovery call this week asked me, “So all your clients are content creators?”

My clients are in many different fields.

In a sea of social media noise, you are just another tech consultant or just another accountant.

  • What is the unique way you solve problems?
  • What frameworks do you use?
  • How are you letting the world know about that uniqueness?
  • What I teach is how you differentiate yourself from everyone else.
  • What story are you telling?

Look at Andrea David, based in Hamburg. She has almost 1M followers because she has a super hyper niche topic:

She documents her own travels, recreating moments famously captured in movies.

Brilliant! How can you hyperniche down like this?


 

Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1. Right now, I’m interviewing members of the 2025 Class of the Samita Lab Mastermind. Join 7 other women leaders for 12 months. The Mastermind works on 3 things: your mindset, the build of your personal brand It culminates in a TED style talk on stage in front of 200 people at the end, that is recorded.

I only enroll for this program once a year.

The waitlist is open for the Class of 2025.

2. The Anatomy of a ‘No’ If you’re struggling to say ‘no’ gracefully at work, I created a free download here with scripts (15,000 downloaded)

I’ll add to it each week.

3. Help! I need confidence! ****Join 2500 people in taking my mini-public speaking Masterclass. Learn to organize a compelling talk and my framework for making it super easy.

Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1.Take my Art of Influence Masterclass. (Join 10,000 people in taking this) Use the code INFLUENCE to get it for free.

2. The Anatomy of a ‘No’ If you’re struggling to say ‘no’ gracefully at work, I created a free download here with scripts (15,000 downloaded)

I’ll add to it each week.

3. Help! I need confidence! ****Join 2500 people in taking my mini-public speaking Masterclass. Learn to organize a compelling talk and my framework for making it super easy. For today only, use the code INFLUENCE to get it for free.

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