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Classics: How to Effectively Manage Ego on Your Team: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Feb 20, 2024

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

In this episode, we’re talking how to manage ego on your team. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

  • Episode Summary & Player
  • Show Notes
  • Marketing Smarts Summary
  • Transcript

Marketing Smarts: Classics: How to Effectively Manage Ego on Your Team

Not all ego is negative. The right amount of ego can be a benefit and can come across as confident, successful, and adds to a person’s swagger. This is NOT the type of ego we talk about in this episode. Here, we reference the type of ego that gets in the way of the team, the work, etc. Being the leader with one of these personalities in a position above you comes with some difficulty, but there ARE strategies you can implement to make this person easier to navigate and work with. This episode covers everything from ego to teamwork. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How do you manage ego on your team?
  • What do you do if this person is seriously insufferable?
  • Should you enlist the help of others?
  • How does this impact the entire team?
  • What are some examples of when this worked or didn’t work?
  • Will some people never change?
  • Going toe-to-toe with ego
  • Memorable Super Bowl ads

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

  • Classics: How to Effectively Manage Ego on Your Team
    • [0:00] Welcome to Marketing Smarts
    • [0:32] Anne Candido, April Martini
    • [0:35] How do you manage ego on your team?
    • [2:00] Allow the person to have their day in the sun
    • [5:08] Write a tight, objective brief
    • [5:55] “4 Components of a Results-Driven Brief
    • [10:09] Get this person to be an ally vs. a foe
    • [14:38] Personal Brand
    • [14:58] P&G (Procter & Gamble)
    • [16:29] Do not go toe-to-toe with the ego
    • [18:34] Recap: How do you manage ego on your team?
    • [18:56] We’d like to invite you to join ForthRight Women: The Cohort. This community is for females who are ambitious in their careers, but want an equally fulfilling personal life. For more information and to join the group, check out
    • “In the Trenches”
    • [19:40] What do you do if this person is seriously insufferable?
    • [21:01] HR (Human Resources)
    • [23:32] Should you enlist the help of others?
    • [26:51] How does this impact the entire team?
    • [29:57] What are some examples of when this worked or didn’t work?
    • [39:52] Will some people never change?
    • Marketing Smarts Moments

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you miss anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to it.

April Martini 0:29
Welcome to Marketing Smarts. I am Anne Candido. And I am April Martini, and today is another Marketing Smarts Classics, how to effectively manage ego on your team. Now, as we cover in this episode, not all ego is bad. A good amount of swagger can be super helpful as we navigate careers and rise through the ranks. However, where ego often goes wrong is one is at the expense of the team, the work the clients and the overall culture of the organization. In this episode, we address this site of ego and most importantly, what to do about it when it rears its ugly head in your workplace. Now, let’s get to it. Yeah,

Anne Candido 1:04
and we’ve all been there. So both on the corporate agency side life in general, we are constantly facing egomaniacs. And it can be really tough to navigate the waters and know how to find a better path without leading to everything blowing up even further, right? Yeah. And this becomes even more important, albeit a little bit harder when you’re actually the leader. But the person in question is maybe above you in the food chain. Or maybe you’re trying to manage egos on a team that you’re facilitating, but all others come from different functions, and maybe don’t report into you. So this is what we’re going to talk about today. This is the lens that we’re going to be focusing this episode on. But just keep in mind at all these insights around ego and how to manage ego can be applied in multiple different contexts. Absolutely.

April Martini 1:55
All right. And so with that, we’ll get into how to effectively manage ego on your team. Number one, allow the person to have their day in the sun. Why? Now, it’s just the opposite of what you were expecting us to say. Pretty sure it probably is. But it’s important that you let this person go to a point. So there’s your caveat right there, the work on your part becomes uncovering the motivation for the behavior, we will very clearly tell you, it’s going to come from a place of some kind of insecurity, and then placating the person’s behavior accordingly. Again, we’re not saying you have to allow them to take over that they’re gonna kill the morale that they’re going to interrupt the work so badly that you can’t come back for it. You know, all of that stuff. That’s not what we’re saying here. But what we’re saying is when you take a path of least resistance with these types of people, which goes against the grain of what most people would do, it also takes a whole lot of swallowing your own personal pride and feelings, I will say from experience, you might be able to get them to move past it faster, versus going against the grain of the way that they typically behave. And quite honestly, it might force you to spend some time one on one outside of any given situation, project, work, discussion, etc, among an audience to get them there. If you give them that attention, you’re the one that listens to whatever it is the grandstanding, their perspective, whatever. And then you give them a specific role based on your observation of what they need to get out of the experience, you might be able to start and end in a far better place than just diving in. And so transparently, yes, this takes more work on your part, and anyone else on the team that’s going to help manage this person. But if you do it proactively, you can be more in the driver’s seat, even though that person still thinks they are. And you can unravel some of what it’s going to take to get them in line as far as they’re able to go versus taking them on head to head. Yeah,

Anne Candido 4:07
it is so counterintuitive. But it is super effective. For I think a couple of reasons. One is it allows you to still like you said kind of be in control be in the driver’s seat because you can funnel their value and like control their exposure a little bit so that they aren’t just taking over the team and the team dynamics and causing and kind of that angst. But also it avoid what they want the most which is they want the conflict. Yeah, exactly. They want you to argue with them because they want to be right that’s part of like that ego driven centric kind of mentality is they want to be right. So they’re going to argue and argue and argue and argue like they will not let up. It’s because what they want within their personal brand is to be right. So it doesn’t do anybody any good? So I think that’s a really fantastic point to start this whole thing off with. Well,

April Martini 5:05
thank you. All right, number two to combat that ego, right? A tight objective brief. And

Anne Candido 5:13
yes, because you need something objective versus subjective in order to have a conversation against, like we said, you can argue with them all you wind, it will not get anywhere, they will not let up. So you have to have something that is objective that you can go back to in order to filter the conversation. Right. So this makes sure that they are clear, you’re clear, what are the parameters, what is in and out of bounds, both regards to the work and with regards to the behavior, right. So as a side note, we do have an episode entitled four components of a results driven brief. So if you want assistance on how to create a brief, you could definitely go and listen to that episode. So the point here is when you have very egocentric people, you have to find some way of countering the behavior with something that is a little bit more finite. And the finiteness comes from setting the right expectations, in order to be able to provide the guidance and the guidelines for how you expect that behavior to be. But also establishing a decision making process so that when you are having these back and forth, when the ego start to start to rise up, you have a process that you can reflect back on that everybody that can then follow for how do you get from point A to point B? Because otherwise, that can be just a spiral down? Where you’re talking hypotheticals forever? And let me tell you, ego driven people love to talk hypotheticals. Oh, they do, right? Because that’s where they’re always right. Like, they can’t be wrong until it actually goes into when the rubber meets the road. Yeah. So this is really, really important is that you have the expectation set with regards to behavior with regard to the work, that can, the behavior can also be part of the brief, because this is an internal brief that you’re going to be giving to your team so that you know what they’re going to go deal with our marching orders are. But it’s also about making sure that people know that as the process is going to go forward here, what their role is in making those decisions. Yeah,

April Martini 7:20
and we talk so often about the brief, and we referenced it a lot. And I think that when you get into these more people, focused issues, I guess I’ll call them, the brief becomes important in a whole different way. Because not only are you holding everyone accountable to the project, and the deliverables, that pales in comparison from an E standpoint as the person’s behavior. And so I think, again, we’re talking all about proactively managing and maneuvering the situation throughout the episode. This is another key component where if you’re crafty enough, you can write in the expectations of the team members as part of that brief and contract. And then once everybody signs off, you can use it as a way to hold them accountable. So for example, egomaniacs love to step outside of their box, right? That’s right, jump right in everybody else’s business. Well, if you’ve written in there that the roles are very specifically defined, you can state more from a place of oh, hey, I’m really I appreciate your opinion. But remember, in order to make this project work, we need each person to serve their role. So therefore, I’m going to defer to whoever else in the room was actually meant to be the one to talk. And that can shut the person down effectively, because they are not given another option. So they’re not they don’t have the opportunity to do all the hypotheticals and whatever. If you’re saying, look, it’s really not your turn to talk in a nice way that’s already been agreed to. Well,

Anne Candido 8:57
and the other side of that coin, too, is a lot of times ego driven people will just go into the work on their own without getting the feedback that they need from the other team members. I’ve seen that happen a lot especially but as much as I love them creatives. Yeah, like we’ve talked before about like, it’s very dangerous to call a person a creative because it makes them feel like they’re the only ones who have the liberty to be creative, right. But then other brands will say Oh, good ideas could come from anywhere. Yeah, like that corner that creative because all the great ideas come from him or her right. So you have to also be very clear within the brief, who you expect them to get information, data, feedback, whatever from and truly if it is like good ideas can come from anywhere and your job is to funnel the ideas, then you better make sure when you hear the work back that you checking for did you get everybody’s feedback here because the consistency and the expectations and all of that is only as good as a You upholding them? Yes. Right? So if you’re gonna let it slide, then they’re going to quickly get that you’re not serious. Yep. Yep,

April Martini 10:08
totally, totally good point. All right, number three, get this person to be an ally versus a foe. April has a really hard time with this.

Anne Candido 10:19
When you start speaking about yourself, and that third person, you don’t even want to associate with that at

April Martini 10:28
least April self aware. All right, so all joking aside, this requires you to swallow your own ego number one, which I love doing. And then, and then also, to add salt to the wound. spend extra time with this person who’s such a joy anyway. So we talked in the previous two about what you can do to combat ego this one means actually spending time not so much in the work and assigning the role in the more objective sides of a project, but literally one on one between you and this other person. This is something that quite honestly many people avoid, because in all honesty, no one wants to spend time with this person because of the way that they act. Right. And so one on one just sounds like punishment. But if you think about it, again, it’s counterintuitive like the first point, when you realize that egomania really does come from some kind of insecurity, it should be easier to manage the person one on one than in a group, because the way that they shift the attention from doing good work or what their role is, or all of those objective things is to pontificate and bully and be the loudest voice in the room and in an attempt to unravel the conversation and intimidate people so that their insecurity is not showing, right. So then they get in a place of a one track mind. And once they get going, it’s really hard to get them to stop. And then at the end of the day, you’re you have no success or worker or whatever you’re trying to get out of it. So when you step in, and you invite this person to interact one on one, the very first thing you’re doing is reminding the person that you’re both people, right, and it’s really hard to hide when it’s a one on one conversation, then number two is taking the time to get to know them and building an actual relationship, which often will get them to let their guard down. Or even if that’s not the case, then you are able to learn more about what makes them tick, what’s important to them who they are, so that you can better manage the relationship, even if it’s more from your side of things, and it’s not as mutual. And then finally, taking the time to remind them that you’re sharing, you do share the same goal, you just want to do the right work, you want to do great work, you want to get this project off the ground, you want it to be exceptional. That’s really not arguable at that point, right? You’re if you’re not there for that, then you shouldn’t have a job or role in the first place. And so I think that these types of timeouts, one, I think they catch this type of person off guard, but they also hold them accountable, and the exact same moment. And so they can’t get away, they can’t deflect, they have to participate. And they have to do so in a way that they’re playing by the rules, which they’re often not held to. And like I said, I have a really April has a really hard time with this. I don’t deal well with Bs, I can’t handle bad behavior. It makes me really angry when adults act like children, I just I mean, I really get a bad taste in my mouth pretty immediately. What I can tell you right now, the times that I tried to go toe to toe with these people in a room full of people never went well. And the times that I did what I just outlined here and got them on my side, transformed the relationship almost overnight, and honestly didn’t take a lot of investment moving forward. Once I had made this intentional start toward a personal relationship with the other person. Yeah.

Anne Candido 14:09
And I think when we get to this point to a lot of people are like, Oh, no, am I the person with the ego? So just to flip the coin around on this one, if you feel like you’re being managed in this way, it is a big wake up call to say, hmm, maybe I’m the person that is exhibiting the bad behavior. I mean, we’ve all been there. We’ve all been in situations where where we haven’t acted according to our own personal brand and our own integrity, but on a consistent basis. Are you getting feedback that’s basically says, you have a hard time working with people are you getting feedback that says, your collaborative way in which you talk to people is not well received? I mean, these are usually all hidden and soft skills. You can be the best performer in the world. And actually, I mean, I admire the fact that P&G noticing that like these people who are more in it HEC centric area tend to have a little bit more ego driven nature because just by the value of the fact that they happen to be very smart, they made them a whole separate T track. And I’ve said that before. I’m like, those guys are awesome. They get to go out and say whatever they want, and that with ego when people say thank you for the opportunity for you to tell me how stupid I am. But I mean, I say that in jest, but I also say it in all sincerity to that, depending on where you want to go in your career, how far you and you want to move up, if you’re getting some of that soft skill feedback. That sounds like collaborative. That sounds like I’m getting along well with others about like your your relationship with people, those are signs that you may be having some egocentric behavior that’s not working for you. Yeah,

April Martini 15:42
and the last thing I’ll say there is, I think that, well, it’s good first to reference like, hey, it might be you. But, but also, I do think that when these people get and I mentioned it as like one track mind, when they get there, they kind of don’t see anything else. And so I think even just like cluing back in, if the conversation stops when you enter the room, if the room is silent to the point where you would hear a pin drop after you’re done with your episode. I mean, that too, should trigger in you like, oh, something’s off here.

Anne Candido 16:17
Something’s off here. Yeah.

April Martini 16:21
All right. Number four, do not go toe to toe with the ego. And,

Anne Candido 16:25
yeah, you kind of mentioned this before, but I’ll reinforce it. Since April doesn’t like a BS. And this is kind of counter to a little bit of our forthright nature and our direct approach. But honestly, you know, the, the amount of energy that it takes to go back and forth with somebody who is so firmly set in this type of behavior is not worth it, it just is literally not, you need to find another way in order to, to placate in order to be able to make them an ally, in order to be able to, like we said to funnel their value, but limit their exposure. Because remember, this is coming from a place of insecurity, this person thrives on arguing and pushing back. Because one, it’s how they are surviving in their life. It’s also the way that their personal brand, like we said is manifested, its manifested and being right, you’re not going to fix them. It’s just impossible. So you’re going to have to manage them. And you can still definitely give them feedback. They should still be given feedback. But also you should be aware that sometimes that feedback is going to fall on deaf ears. Yep. And now the other thing you have to realize, too, is that, you know, the way that you approach them is going to make all the difference in the world. Like April said, you’d have these conversations outside of meetings, do not call somebody who’s ego driven in a meeting with a bunch of people remember, that’s, that’s their opportunity. That’s where you’re going to give them their moment to be able to grandstand to some extent, sometimes, I mean, you have to set the tone for the rest of the team. So they know what’s going to happen. Right.

April Martini 18:05
Yeah. So I mean, I think this one is a nice summary. When you think about your natural inclination, and even if you’re not a confrontational person, I think most people’s energy shifts to the point of like, wanting to get aggressive back.

Anne Candido 18:20
Yeah, it just shows it just hits a trigger. Yeah, yeah.

April Martini 18:23
So therefore the reason to end with this and just again, caution very strongly against it. Alright, so just to recap how to effectively manage ego on your team, allow the person to have their day in the sun, giving them an outlet will save you and the team a lot of headache, right, a tight objective brief, built in objectivity will hold everyone’s feet to the fire. Get this person to be an ally versus a foe investing in a relationship builds rapport and eases communication. And finally, do not go toe to toe with the ego others have likely tried and true no effect. All right, our next segment in the trenches is where we give real world examples specific to industries and situations but with broad application so that anyone can just them and put them into action. Number one, I hear what you’re saying but this person is seriously insufferable. I’m not sure I can take the long term with that man.

Anne Candido 19:16
Yeah, we’ve all been there. And we hear you. It is in at some point it’s you’re going to feel like this right. Now with that being said, there does come a point in time but sometimes you need to kind of think a little bit outside the box in order to be able to alleviate what’s going on. So first we would say that maybe you need to go find somebody that that person trust, whether it’s a friend, a colleague, some of the respect not their boss, because that only makes the situation worse, but somebody they may trust outside of you and your group that can maybe put like a little bit of a bug in their ear just to kind of say, Huh, you know, I’m hearing things may not be going so well and you say More, do something to that effect and just have that conversation, or allow that person who’s a trusted resource to have that conversation with them in a way that doesn’t feel as confrontational in that way. Now, if that’s not working either in the person is becoming very disruptive to the team is creating a lot of hostility and a bad culture within the team, you’re probably are going to have to elevate it more to a boss or an HR person, in order to be able to help facilitate the conversation. But be very, very mindful of what the outcomes can be. Right? Especially if you’re going again, head to head with somebody who is very well respected, been there for a long time, has a lot of tenure is high up in the company, April and I can speak from a lot of experience. And when you go after, quote, unquote, these people, it tends to have more disastrous impact on yourself than it does on them. So you need to really be very mindful of the fact that you can go fight the good fight, but you may end up losing a lot in the process. All right. So just be very, very clear that you can do it. But it can be very, very tenuous at best.

April Martini 21:21
This is a hard one to swallow as well. Again, speaking from personal doesn’t

Anne Candido 21:24
seem like a really good answer, right? Yeah, there’s not really a good answer to this one.

April Martini 21:29
Well, in it, it goes to the point of everything we’re saying, right, this person’s probably gotten away with this for a long period of time where they do have a lot of tenure in the organization, people turn the other way, because it’s easier than trying to face it. There’s a whole bunch of reasons why you could do this. But there’s a whole lot more that point to just be careful and think about self preservation, because you are opening a can of worms. And it’s not always viewed as your place, depending on their role versus your role in the organization. And it stinks that that’s the way it is. But it’s just that way.

Anne Candido 22:10
Yeah. And I’ve had those things come back on me because then it starts reflecting on my ability to be able to manage my team be able to lead my team ever drive collaboration within my team. It feels like a very no win situation, I hear you. And that’s why we spent so much time on the upfront, really trying to give you some tools for how to manage somebody who have egos. Now, we see all this. But sometimes at the end of the day, you may choose to go to a different team, you may choose to go to a different company, you may have to, you know, remove yourself from the situation for become something that you’re just so insufferable. But definitely try these things first, yes, it should help at least and maybe get you to a manageable point that you can tolerate it, and it will build your skills and definitely build your skills. Absolutely.

April Martini 22:58
All right, number two in the trenches, can I use others to help in the effort? And if so how? So to be clear, we’re not saying that you should not enlist others, you absolutely should. But similar to how we’re talking about the intentionality with which you’re going to manage this person, be clear on what you want from those others, or what role you want them to provide, because strengthen numbers is definitely not gonna solve this issue at its core, as we’ve already stated, and it really likely will make it worse. So if you’re going to enlist others in your plan, make sure that you are answering for yourself, why you’re bringing them in, and then for them what role they’re going to play. So examples, do you need a sounding board so you can get your emotions under control without unleashing on this person? That may be a very real situation? Do you need advice from the person you see navigating this successfully and said before? Do they have a friend and ally someone that they look to? Or is there someone that you’ve seen? Do it well this person before? Definitely go to them and get their advice? Do you need guidance from HR, so you make sure you say the right thing within company guidelines, these situations are contentious. It’s not that you have to run to them and tattle or put yourself in the situation from the previous question where you might intern be on the receiving end of some bad things. But it might be more like, hey, not trying to bring this to your attention for this reason, but I could just really use some advice on where the company stands on these types of things. Do you need someone else on the team to be your wing man as you tackle this problem, whether for you to make sure you’re keeping it under control or for them to be a second voice in some of the instances that come up, the more pragmatic and objective you can stay overall and the more pragmatic and objective you can use others or enlist them to be the better chance of success and growth for all of you involved, and potentially this person, just make sure you don’t start using it as just a total bitch session, having more calm First patients just to complain. While that might be a starting point, you want to make sure that it’s really action oriented, because there’s already enough bad energy around the person in the situation. And the more you allow yourself to go to that level, the worse it’s going to be to get back out, get everybody back on track and save the situation in any way. Yeah, I

Anne Candido 25:20
think the one thing I would add to that it just be careful who you tell, oh, yeah, fair. Because thing is get around. And if people can use it as currency to get the favor of, you know, people in general, despite the fact that they might be friends, it’s very tempting for them to use it as such. So just be very careful with who you talk to about this. Like I said, like HR is like my last resort, because once you say something to HR, then they feel compelled to have to do something. So definitely do it. If it’s as a last resort, if it cannot absolutely be managed, or if there’s something that’s really going on that is against company policy that needs to be reported. But just be careful about how you’re talking about the situation who you’re talking about it with. Yeah. Very

April Martini 26:06
good. Watch out. Yeah, make sure just the same as you are putting your faith in these people that they’re going to trust and keep what you’re saying, right. All right. Number three, in the trenches, you mentioned, this behavior affecting the broader team, how so? And,

Anne Candido 26:21
yeah, we’ve talked a lot about this, but I just want to put a fine point about where you kind of draw the line. And I think where you draw the line is where the culture starts suffering as a result. Now, there’s a lot you can do, like we said, in order to help prep the team members for what’s going on here. One very, very important thing is not to let the behavior slide on noticed, right. So even if it’s just going and telling the team, listen, I know that so and so can be really hard to work with, this is how I’m managing it, I want you guys to know I’m managing it, I want you to know that I noticed that I am like tracking it, and I am managing it on my side. Just so you know that that bad behavior is not being tolerated, but I am doing it because whatever context around it, you want to put around it, but it has to have some sort of rational understanding to your team, and a little bit of justification to your team of why you’re doing that. Okay. So that is extremely important. It’s not talking about the person behind their back, it’s managing the interactions appropriately. So you can facilitate your team in a way that’s productive. Otherwise, people are gonna be as an outsider looking in and gonna be like, I can’t believe that they’re letting, letting that go. Are we all allowed to act like that? Right. And when it gets to the point where people are like, hey, yeah, I get it. But if this is getting to be too much, you do need to step in. And you do need to take more firm action with regards to how to manage the situation appropriately. And this is like when people start feeling small, when people start feeling shut down, and people feel personally targeted and attacked. Right? This is part of being a leader, it’s a really, really hard part of being a leader. But you’re the goal is to have lots of different diversity and thought, lots of different diversity of personality. So you can bring all that to these decisions. Don’t just shut it down, because it’s easier to manage if you just shut it down, right. So make sure you you’re trying to proactively work it in a way that still gets that knowledge out. Because it’s very likely that that ego driven person actually probably has something very good to say, under which they’re doing it and the way that they feel about themselves in doing it is just contrary to being able to facilitate highly functioning team.

April Martini 28:36
Yeah. And I think too, you can serve as a really positive example for people in this way. Because to Anne’s point, while they meet maybe disrespected on one side, if they feel the opposite from you, it builds loyalty, it builds your credibility, but it also is a form of relief. Because if you’re the leader, and those people have less power in the situation, and they’re feeling bad about themselves because of this other person, you can help rebuild and kind of bring back their spirit in a really tough time

Anne Candido 29:09
as a leader. Yeah, and that’s all about being consistent is setting up the expectation and then following through accordingly, right, as intended as expected. So that way you build that consistency that trust so people get it Yep.

April Martini 29:21
All right, number four in the trenches. Can you offer some examples for when this worked or didn’t work for better context opportunities? Here we

Anne Candido 29:30
go. All right. So are we talking to April or April the third person?

April Martini 29:38
No, I’m within my own body now. Okay. So, to the point well, to what I was just saying about people being younger, not being the leader in certain positions, the one that stands out to me, was kind of a double whammy situation. So my one of my very first roles out of school, I took a job. And had I had more experience and better instincts at that point, I probably wouldn’t have taken that role. So let’s just start there. And so I had a boss who was newer to the company, and he was the rebel in a very not positive way. And he liked to stir stuff up, just for the sake of doing it. He hadn’t been a part of an agency ever before. He loved the confrontation. So in any case, I ended up in this role reporting to him and I was his only direct report. On the other side, we had one of these legacy folks who really didn’t know what they were talking about, but also had their own share of ego. And so the two of them would just, I mean, go at it back and forth, and I would often be caught in the crossfire. And so it was a foregone conclusion, within weeks of me being there, and even being so green that my boss was going to be let go. And he was, but the other person I had to go to, and it was scary, because he was in a position of power. And he knew what he was doing. And I didn’t necessarily all the things that we’ve cautioned against in this episode, but I had to remind them of a few things, one, that I wasn’t my boss. And so that misplaced energy commentary, whatever was not really okay. And then that I even despite that had a lot of respect for this person, and that I wanted to be able to learn from them. And I knew they had a lot of great stuff to say and provide. But could we just start over, especially now that the boss was gone to build an actual relationship versus me being on the receiving end of what had become normal behavior between the two of them. And so one side, it was like, there was no coming back from that. And that was obvious. But on the other one, I still feel pretty proud of myself, especially because I was so young. And that’s not my natural tendency to be able to handle myself in the situation and bring it back to a positive place that we could both work from. On the other side, where it doesn’t go so well, I would say, know when to just walk away. So and sad, you might get to the point where you just make a decision, and you say, I can’t handle this anymore. And for me, this situation came down to the culture of the organization, and I did a lot of the bad behavior. So it wasn’t that it was one sided. But it just got to a point where I felt like, there were too many people that I was forced to work with on a daily basis. And there was way too much contention going on between them among us. Like I said, I wasn’t, you know, not part of it, because I would participate from the negative side. And it just the energy was also really bad. So I got to a point where I felt like every meeting, every creative review, every client call, I just was tired before I even got in there. And I knew that I also was in a place because I was now participating that it was never going to be a healthy environment. It was like it just felt to me like I was going to try to boil the ocean, right? Because it was it was a fundamental culture thing. There was a lot of competition, it was all about proving yourself it was not a team environment. And I did ultimately walk away from the company because I just didn’t feel like there were any redeeming qualities. And I was becoming a person I didn’t like because of the culture of the organization. Hmm.

Anne Candido 33:30
That’s a tough one. Yeah. Very tough. All right. So for me, it’s just kind of it’s kind of an interesting and funny question, because I think everybody at p&g has ego. It’s just what level of ego Yeah. And that becomes from the fact that I mean, honestly, they hire a bunch of really smart people. Yeah, and I’m not I pay in that organization, right. And I’m not trying to like toot my own horn or anything here. But if there’s a lot of smart people, I didn’t work with one stupid person at p&g. I’ve worked with I worked with a bunch of people that I didn’t like so much, but I did not work with one stupid person. So the ego to somewhat is justified. And the insecurity comes from the fact that everybody is smart. So it automatically makes you feel like you’re somewhat scaled in in a broader scale than what you should be scaled in. And actually, I think I said this before that my boss’s boss used to call us a bunch of insecure overachievers, and thought that that was the best thing ever, because we would just work our butts off in order to achieve everything that was put in front of us. That all being said, there became several processes for how to facilitate the egos in the room. And a lot of it came went from just doing any kind of like session, some brainstorming sessions, creative review sessions, Discovery sessions, whenever we were going to get into those things where we knew that we’re going to have a lot of people with a lot of opinion We always always had some sort of structured and facilitated session by a third party. Yep, smart, right unbiased person that was going to come in didn’t really have a stake in the decision didn’t have a dog in the hunt, didn’t really have, you know, any value with regards to this was going to help them get promoted or not, didn’t have to worry about looking good, just came in. And a lot of times, this person didn’t know, like the people at all and just help facilitate this session. So at least we’ve could take a little bit of the emotion out of it and a little bit of the personal biases out of it, we also would bring in leadership at some point during the session so they could hear for themselves, the dynamic in the room, the conversations happening in the room, the key takeaways we were having where we were headed, one that allowed them to see then how everybody was interacting in the room, where this this outcome was going to be going gave an opportunity to say yea or nay at that time, so that when we left, the whole thing didn’t fall apart. Because that’s what happens a lot, you get into these meetings to this brainstorming. So you kind of feel like you’re making progress. And then you get out of the room. And then you find out two weeks later, the whole thing fell apart. Because somebody came back in after the fact to undermine the whole thing that happened. Now, I’m not saying that didn’t ever happen, it actually happened more than I would have liked it to. But again, this is where a strong leader who is living with integrity, living against a personal brand, would not let that happen. Yep. Right. So that is how we imagined I came into the one moment because it was like a daily thing, and every single element across every single function of our business. But it does really help to put like everybody a little bit more on an equal playing field, we also would just find ways of testing learning. And like I said, ego driven people like to talk hypotheticals forever, because they’ll always be right. Soon as you could put in the market, you let the market speak. And that really what would kind of, again, funnel the value that people were having with regards to their point of view and their voice. Nobody was ever wrong. It was just this was more right than that. Now, there is another element. And this was like an a very high level of trust. And I have only a handful of people that I was able to do this with that we knew if we could just get into a room and we just hashed it out, like no, like, no holds bar, like, it just all came out, just very transparent, very forthright our point of view their point of view back and forth, we would still like jot things down, go here, go there, go there. It’s not just an argument back and forth. But we would be able to like, almost be like shouting at each other. Like I mean yelling, just flood a high emotion. And then we would get to a point we’d be like, got it this so we circle it and like let’s go get lunch. Yeah, you know, and we can do that with a small group of people. But that takes a high level of trust, it takes a high level of personal integrity, that you’re not going to get your quote unquote, feelings hurt, that you’re not going to feel undermined in those situations that you’re going to listen, you’re not just going to be like, Okay, here’s my point of view. No, I’m just gonna argue with you till you hear my point of view that you’re listening to the other person. So there’s definitely rules of engagement there. The first one works better for situations. But I wanted to kind of give like a range of two that’s worked for me. Yeah,

April Martini 38:13
and I think that, I mean, from both sides, having the bigger broader understanding of all of the things that are at play. That’s the point of this episode is to be proactive, the points you just made, there are different approaches. But they work because they’re done intentionally. They don’t just happen in the room. And I think that that is so often where things go wrong, or where people get away with this behavior for so long as people are just like, oh, I can’t deal with it anymore, that it just keeps going. Right. Nobody wants to deal with it. Yeah, exactly. And then those longer term repercussions happen as a result, versus when you actually do manage it proactively. And the outcome is almost like a foregone conclusion, because like you said, it’s every day, this is the normal way that we do this, instead of the energy being so high, right? All right, number five and final in the trenches, do you really believe that some people will just never change? That seems to be what you’re saying here? Yes, no. And it depends this time. Absolutely. That’s what I’m saying. Not unless they want to, because we’ve seen this more times when we can count. So and there’s different reasons for it. Sometimes people reach a point in their career where they’ve done all they can do and that’s where they’re staying. Some of those people are fine with that. Others are not. And that’s one of the places we can see this behavior show up. This is why we say manage it within the reality and parameters you’re faced with versus trying to fix it because ultimately chances are this person has received the feedback more than once right and chosen to ignore it not believe it convinced themselves it’s the other people’s problem, whatever that looks like for them. Some other things the older they get, the more ingrained the behavior can get. This can be a good indicator for you as well what you’re dealing with so if you just joined an organization In the end, you have someone who’s been there for a long time. And you’re seeing this behavior pop up and you’re seeing other people roll their eyes under their breath, say, oh, here we go, again, those types of things, then you know that it is something that just happens continuously there versus being something that you might want to step in and try to manage. Again, this is why you have to orient yourself to objective problem solving based on the situation you’re in, and with a focus on the work so that you can get in front of these types of people in these types of situations. But yes, the short answer to the question is, there are people who just don’t change? And how do we know? Because I have to imagine that those of you listening have the picture of a specific person or several people in your head that you have encountered that have this egomaniac tendency about them?

Anne Candido 40:51
Yes, I do.

April Martini 40:56
wasn’t gonna call her Oh, yeah.

Anne Candido 40:57
And I think the thing is, too, and I just want to put a point on this is that, you know, a lot of times ego gets Miss defined or misdiagnosed as passion or, or, like just a tenacity, or you know, those sorts of things. Be very clear about what the motivation is. That’s how you detach. That’s how you define whether or not this is ego driven, versus something else that no something else is like, if it’s passion, tenacity, those are things you want to harness and you want to make sure that you’re providing an outlet for those things. The ego comes from, again, the point of insecurity, that’s always where it comes from. So that doesn’t necessarily mean that these people aren’t passionate or not good at what they do as well. It’s just that it’s working for them in some sort of compensated behavior to make them feel better than so as you had said, he probably the whole episode is shaped around that, and how to really hone in on that, and how to be able to appease that in a way that’s more productive. But at the end of the day, you cannot fix somebody that does not want to be fixed. So you can only control your own behavior. And that’s definitely something we always have to remember.

April Martini 42:11
Yeah, and I think to the thing, really foundationally to think about is, how are other people feeling and reacting? Because you can be a passionate person without putting other people down. You can be a tenacious person without stepping on others around you. Yep. Those types of Yes. Those are the types of people you want. You want. Just like we said, In the beginning, people with swagger people that others get behind people that are inspirational, all of that is great. That’s a sign of ego. That’s really awesome. It’s when it goes to the point of at the sacrifice of others. Yep, that it becomes what we’re talking about here. Yep. All right. Our third and final segment is Marketing Smarts Moments, which is something that may or may not be tied to the topic at hand, but that we at forthright people are observing or have recently experienced in the world of branding and marketing. And it could be a good or not so good example, and I have a feeling mine might be a little bit contentious, because I’ve already sort of given my thoughts to others. And not everyone agrees with me, but you know what? It’s okay.

Anne Candido 43:15
So which April’s, so?

April Martini 43:19
I didn’t see third person. Okay. All right. So we have the Super Bowl. Right. And sadly, sadly, our Bengals did not pull through. But we’re proud of them. They made it Yeah, it’s been great for the city. We cannot say enough positive things about the energy that that brought the pride to the city. And just a feeling of goodwill overall, that even continues with the loss. So that says a lot about our team and our city as well. But I’m not going to talk about the game itself or any of the players what I’m what she talked about, I think, okay, I watched everybody at that game, and I was cheering just as hard as everybody got a whole drive. No, it’s just check it. Oh, for the love. I know the rules of all the sports doesn’t mean I have to love them. Okay. All right. So back on track, I want to talk about the ads. And I generally have a pretty strong reaction to ads in total, and definitely at the Superbowl, because I’m just really not a fan of sensationalism. And I felt like there was a lot of that that led to a lot of noise versus smart ads that made a lot of good sense. And that I didn’t think we’re lazy. And I think that that’s a symptom of a few things. Number one, you know, we had COVID the year prior, nobody was at the stadium. The Super Bowl wasn’t what it usually is. So I get people wanting to come out with a bang and get back into it and whatever. But a lot of it I think just didn’t hit the mark for me and and there were trends that I just found kind of odd and interesting, like new product launches against brands that were either new or legacy but that really didn’t make any sense. And then there was a lot of celebrities showing up even more than I think normal. But they also didn’t match necessarily the spot or the message or the product itself. And so the two that I really liked were ones that continued from previous campaigns. And that kind of calmed down the situation for me. And those were e trade and Budweiser. And so E*TRADE brought the babies back. And I thought that it was really smart, because it kind of went along this theme of what’s happened to people since COVID. Right? So the baby went off and retired and was living on on a, in a cabin, chopping wood or whatever. And they went and brought him back because things weren’t going right. You know, it’s always been one that I’ve just chuckled at no matter what, but I just felt like it continued the story. It was timely, it made sense. And it was using something that was smart before, and bringing it forward in a way that I also felt like was smart. With Budweiser, they went their typical way with the horse and the dog and kind of continued that story. I don’t know that I necessarily think it was as breakthrough as it was when that first came out, or it’s heartwarming, necessarily, but I give them points, because again, they continue the legacy of what has been working. And to me a thread that makes consistent sense against the brand, Budweiser. Now, I will admit, and you hear me say I’m always taking more of a brand lens long term than marketing campaign itself. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t give credit where credit is due. The types of things that I’m talking about here and I’m actually pulling up my phone because I made notes like andas there I’m forgetting the name of the one brand that I really wanted to bring up here. So okay, so the one that I really didn’t get was Bud Light next, I don’t know what that is. I think it was like a no calorie no carb. Yeah, okay. But it made no sense to me. It’s not on the opposite of Budweiser.

It was not on brand for Bud Light. It didn’t make any connection to the brand. I didn’t really understand who the product was for it was just like a lot of hype. And that was it. And then the other one was also oddly a beverage it was liquid Death Mountain water cans. The What the heck is that? Yeah, so liquid Death Mountain water,

it looked kind of like an energy drink/alcoholic beverage. Number one, I can never imagine drinking water out of a can. That just doesn’t sound refreshing or fresh at all. But then there were like underage kids and a pregnant woman and whatever featured drinking this and I’m like, okay, so it’s that they can’t have alcohol, but it kind of looks like alcohol, but the brand name is liquid death. And it’s water in a can. I mean it just like, That’s extreme, right? So we have Bud Light on the one hand with this next product, all the way to this, and kind of everything in between. But I just felt like was so many of the ads, they happen. And I was like, what, even more than I tend to be as the skeptic of the Superbowl ads. Well, it

Anne Candido 48:10
sounds like you really went nostalgia. Yeah, you really go to the nostalgic ads, which, I mean, is is, you know, pretty typical, you know, based on kind of where people’s mentality is now it’s a little bit of comfort, right? Yeah, they, you know, are being able to come back and resurrect it, I would definitely, it’s likely a strategy within those brand marketing groups is like to play on the nostalgia and and resurrect that. Which ironically, like my favorite was Rocket Mortgage, and Anna Kendrick with the Barbie, and I thought that was so well done for several different reasons. One again, it kind of plays a little bit of nostalgia kind of read resurrecting the the way that they’ve been bringing Barbie to life in the last couple of years. But also in the context of something that can be really contentious about like buying a house and all these different ways of you have to buy a house and doing it through Barbie and the way that they did it. And then finally, what the the whole Skeletor he-man reference, I thought was like incredibly, incredibly covered. It meets the criteria of a Super Bowl spa without being overly sensational. So yeah, it’s a clever use of talent with that Anna Kendrick was a good choice. I think a bunch of different people could have fit that spot.

April Martini 49:22
But she’s but that wasn’t intentional use of a celebrity. I totally agree with you. Whereas other ones are personality matched. Yeah, like Yeah, like she and when you think about the profile, what usually plays she fit right in there? Yeah,

Anne Candido 49:33
I think that’s totally right on. The messaging was clear. So they were still basically pursuing a brand and message that they could play that spot for the next six months. And that’s still gonna work, right. Yeah. And then the partnership with Barbie, you know, makes it a little bit more culturally relevant. It kind of brought those two things together in a way that was memorable. Yep. And you still took away a whack a mortgage because at the end, you still got that this is the easier way being able to buy house. Yeah. Right. So I thought it all worked really well together. So I give kudos to that.

April Martini 50:06
On the story of that spot, the story of that spot was clear. Yep, it was grounded in the business. You knew who it was for you remember it afterward. Yeah,

that one is not one of the ones I’m putting on blast here, for sure it doesn’t fit the nostalgia is directly as I tend to lean into. But everything about that was done and fit and was clever. And like the little references, like you said, the he-man reference like I mean, I cracked up

Anne Candido 50:34
and by the way, outside of that so USA ad meter is the way that a lot of these ads get ranked. It’s kind of like the winning an Oscar if you will, in the movies. And she actually put out social media messages to all of our followers to try to get people to actually vote for the spot. So not only did they use her in the spot, they used the access to her community in order to get advocacy for the spot that ended up winning it was like the highest number ever. So now you can game the USA

April Martini 51:09
in a way that you know, was productive for for the brand and for the business and got them the publicity that they wanted, obviously, so change now. Oh, yeah, I was like a little bit like Whoa, she did what but then I was like, Okay, gotcha.

Anne Candido 51:25
Somebody was very bold, very, very bold.

April Martini 51:28
Alright, so anyway, our perspective on the Super Bowl, very, very timely. Alright, so just to recap how to effectively manage ego on your team. Number one, allow the person to have their day in the sun giving them an outlet will save you and the team a lot of headache, right, a tight objective, brief build in objectivity that will hold everyone’s feet to the fire. Get this person to be an ally versus a foe investing in relationship builds rapport and eases communication for the long term. And finally, do not go toe to toe with ego others have likely tried and to no effect. And with that, we will say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts! Still need help in growing your Marketing Smarts? Contact us through our website: We can help you become a savvier marketer through coaching or training you and your team or doing the work on your behalf. Please also help us grow the podcast by rating and reviewing on your player of choice and sharing with at least one person. Now, go show off your Marketing Smarts!