A Rant About Egos and Martyrs

Scott Schwertly
3 min readJun 1, 2015


Pet peeves. I have them. You have them. Day-to-day annoyances are all part of the human experience. While we are on the topic, here are few that I personally despise:

  • People who park backwards into a parking space and make others watch for minutes as they accomplish this task.
  • People who don’t realize just how cramped planes are already and insist on reclining their seats.
  • People who talk loudly on their mobile phones while in a line checking out.
  • People who are reckless on the road, with people’s time, or anything else for that matter.

Enough about that for now. The above list can go and on. Where I really want to focus our conversation is on the 2 disturbances that happen in the workplace.

  1. Egos
  2. Martyrs

If you work in sales, you may want to look away on this one. Historically, sales teams cause me the most grief. Once the mentality of “the company won’t survive without me” kicks in it is almost impossible to reverse it.

Funny thing. I have heard this a few times from employees who are no longer with my organization, yet my company still exists.

So, how can you recognize someone with an ego?

  • He/She believes they are God’s gift to your organization.
  • He/She always believes they are underpaid.
  • He/She doesn’t think the organization will survive without them.
  • He/She has a very difficult time being humble.
  • He/She works in a silo.
  • He/She tends to swell rather than grow.

Egos are toxic. Plain and simple. They need to be reserved for individual sports like boxing or tennis rather than team environments like business.

This mentality really gets under my skin. You know who I am talking about…that guy or gal who likes to brag how they slaved over the weekend on a project or was the first one in the office this morning because of that conference call they had to make with a client on the other side of the world.

What do they look like?

  • He/She believes they work harder than any other team member.
  • He/She works hard but not necessarily smart.
  • He/She doesn’t understand the importance of a team.
  • He/She is on a pedestal.
  • He/She manages others through fear.
  • He/She manipulates others by over exaggerating their workload.

I’m all about hard work but when others use it as a mechanism to create an elevated pedestal than I have serious issues.

Egos and martyrs. I can do without them.

I’m curious to know what you are doing at your organization to put these types of individuals in check.

Author Bio
Scott Schwertly is a 2x Ironman and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University.

Let’s connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.



Scott Schwertly

Mental Performance Coach for Hockey Players | Follow for sport psychology and performance tips.