Organization Development

Nov 26, 2023 5 min read

Pursuit of Dominance


With the idea of exploring interpersonal relations, we delve into the behaviours and actions of individuals under the influence of ego. The discussion introduces the concept of the "3Ds" - Define, Defend, and Dominate - as a structured framework for understanding ego-driven behaviour.

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Have you ever wondered why some people emphasize their position first when introducing themselves? What drives individuals to place their salutations and fancy designations at the forefront of their self-introduction? The common reasons for these behaviours could be the pride we possess in our achievements, the desire to receive respect upfront, or the urge to showcase our position and power. These interactions may be uncomfortable at times and would lead us to label the individual as a person with ego issues. It's a well-known fact that ego can be detrimental, but few are willing to acknowledge possessing it. However, certain actions and behaviours can reveal the presence of ego.

We define these traits as the "3Ds" – Define, Defend, and Dominate. Somehow, it becomes easy to grasp a concept when explained with the help of fancy abbreviations. A candid conversation with one of our colleagues resulted in the formulation of the 3D behaviour of a person with an ego. The 3D behaviour is a 3-step process followed by someone with ego, knowingly or unknowingly.

Define - Typically, the icebreaking phase involves defining one's status, listing their achievements, and showcasing accolades. Metrics such as fancy job titles, degrees from prestigious institutes, or multimillion-dollar revenues are often used by people to establish their initial context. However, this tendency to define one's stature can inadvertently create emotional distance and lead to unnecessary hesitation during subsequent interactions.

Defend - Once the context is set, the person starts defending the pre-set standards, thoughts, and viewpoints. Regardless of the facts, the person would inadvertently hold onto the initial viewpoints and stated opinions. The defensive nature would lead to the use of past references (no matter how unrelated) and inadequate facts. The urge to prove the opinion is not only to win the argument but also to defend the stature set during the initial stage. The person would act aggressively to defend the position.

Dominate – The last weapon in the arsenal is to demolish the opponent's position (considered at this stage). The objective is to dominate the argument and switch off the listening mode completely. The use of a high tone, irrelevant references, reiteration of position, etc., are a few behaviours that are followed by a person under the influence of ego. The silence or passive acknowledgement of the receiver is considered a win and is eventually used as a trigger to escalate and point out mistakes. These actions would not only minimize the chances of any future engagement but also create a lasting impression. As a result, the person is stamped as someone with enormous ego issues.

As a professional, one may find themselves on either side of the conversation depending on the situation. Hence, it is advised to be mindful of the words and aware of the track of conversations. Small conduct such as appreciating the other's viewpoints, not bragging about stature and position, acknowledging mistakes or unawareness, etc., can help foster healthy and fruitful interactions and result in positive lasting relationships. In the pursuit of meaningful interactions and lasting relationships, let us remember that humility and understanding can be the bridges that connect us, far more effectively than the towers of ego ever could.



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