As copywriters, we’re often typing away on our computers, writing copy to deliver to our clients. So, it can sometimes come as a shock when we interact with our client and the feedback is … less-than-stellar.
As Brandon Black and Shayne Hughes explore, humans have a significant preoccupation with self-worth, which causes us to react to various situations with less-than-ideal behaviors. Behaviors, as they explain, that are automatic, deceptively destructive, and very predictable.
Black and Hughes are the co-authors of Ego Free Leadership: Ending the Unconscious Habits that Hijack Your Business. The book takes a first-person perspective, alternating between the two authors as they recall the time when Black was the CEO of Encore Capital Group and Hughes and his team at Learning as Leadership were hired to help completely reshape Encore’s culture.
You may be thinking at this point, what does an organization in the financial industry have to do with my copywriting career?
Reactive behaviors happen to all of us, in personal and professional settings, even if we’re not often working alongside colleagues or bosses in an office.
As copywriters, we have relationships with clients, whether we have one point of contact or we’re interacting with larger marketing and creative teams. But regardless of the number of people we’re interacting with, we have the opportunity and—if you hope to work with clients long-term—the need to act as leaders.
In our desire to be seen as competent, likeable, ethical, and strong, too often we focus on ourselves versus the outcomes we want to achieve.
Black and Hughes offer actionable tips for swapping default reactions for intentional responses.
Through learning the importance of vulnerability and empathy and eliminating the toxic habit of being right, we improve our communication so it’s more constructive and productive.
We all have biases and blind spots. But it’s on each of us to take responsibility, including for those blind spots. Knowing that we have them in the first place can help us recognize when we may be going off the rails and recognize that sometimes we need to simply stop and listen; there’s a lot we can learn if we’re willing and open to hearing it.
And, if we’re honest with ourselves, we can all see ourselves in Black’s story. Instead of making his same mistakes in our own work environments, we can learn from Black’s experience to ensure we’re always providing our clients with not only the best copy, but the best experience possible.
Your turn! What are your tips for ensuring ego doesn’t get in the way of your success? If you’ve read the book, what do you think?