“An inflated feeling of pride in your superiority to others”.
Whether you’re new to the industry or a seasoned developer; I’m sure you’ve experienced this or even feel it yourself. This comes in all shapes and shades, commonly in every team there is a developer that:
- Don’t share its knowledge among teammates.
- Is not interested in helping fellows.
- Push its own ideas through without listening to others.
- Adds needless complexity to stay relevant.
Still, the worst kind is:
- Do not accept and recognizes its mistakes.
I’ve been guilty of all of those before; nothing has ever set me back so much as believing I was always right. I did it without even thinking. Back then, if you reached me and asked if I felt like I was receptive to others opinions and reflecting upon my own mistakes; I’d certainly say: “yes, of course!”
I remember when I first watched the CleanCoders videos. My initial thought was: everybody must see this ─ “I’ll tell the team about it next thing tomorrow”. The next thought was: why should I? watching those videos makes me a more valuable asset; I’ll get to the spotlight and by that, I can stay on top.
On top of what? If anything, it’d be on top of my own ignorance. Having a larger knowledge about something doesn’t make anyone special. Little did I know that I didn’t really understand the things I thought I did. It was only when I was forced to teach that I realized that my selfish behavior didn’t save me from falling short.
Often times, I find it clear that ego is boosted from a necessity of self-affirmation plus fear of failure.
No one likes to feel like a weak-link. But for some reason I can’t explain, that’s amplified if you’re in the software industry. I’ve met developers that denied not knowing something to avoid being underrated as if the fact that they didn’t know something made them completely useless. I’ve been there and lying isn’t going to help. Acknowledging a weak point may be the opportunity to learn something new and that’s where the growth is; essentially you turn a possible bad situation in a good thing.
The problem behind having a big ego is that nothing good can come from it. Feeling prideful about the things you build is one thing, pushing back coworkers and living in your own head is a different thing entirely. It slows down your own improvement as you may be ignoring valuable information and it also impacts others as they could be benefiting from your knowledge if you were open about it.