Ego and Egotism


'Ego' derives from Latin and means 'I' but can also be understood to mean 'self'. The ego is what makes us who we are and what makes us different from everyone else. Our ego is not a fixed and can evolves as we get older and be alter by conscious choice. Our ego today is quite different from what it once was as a child. From birth our ego is rather concerned with the ourselves as we have little knowledge or insight. Food, care and attention are the most important issues in our lives. If we were to maintain this kind of ego through to adulthood then conducting operations as a pilot and as part of a crew would clearly not go smoothly.


Egotism is similar to the notorious five Hazardous Attitudes, however it is more of an unconscious drive than an attitude.
Wikipedia (20121) describes Egotism as "the drive to maintain and enhance favorable views of oneself, and generally features an inflated opinion of one's personal features and importance — intellectual, physical, social and other." Egotism implies a level of selfishness, disregard for others and can be similar to the condition narcissism.

Team Building: When Your Ego is a Barrier to Teamwork
(Video embedded from YouTube on 21 August 2012)

The Ego in Aviation

Aviation involves a great deal of cooperation and team-work. To function successfully within it we must actively be happy to help others, share and contribute to the greater good. An egotistic or ego-centric drive will inhibit an operators teamwork. The first components of Team Resource Management (TRM), are team cooperation and individual responsibilities as part of a team. These rely on having operators that have low egotistic qualities. The ego can be improved by;

  • Having honesty with ourselves
  • Having personal insight
  • Being assertive & disciplined

A suitable ego in aviation will help;

  • Lower the probability of incidents and accidents
  • Improve efficiency through improved teamwork
  • Improve resource utilization through improved teamwork
  • Contribute to a great organisational culture


We all have egos yet no-ones ego is definite. Improvements can always be made and the self-centered drive
can be reduced. Egotism in aviation can be hazardous and is a quality that can be detrimental to teamwork, efficiency and safety. Through cooperation and personal sacrifices we can achieve more than if we operate as closed individuals.

1. Wikipedia. (2012). Egotism. Retrieved 21 August 2012, from
2. Robson, D. (2008). Human Being Pilot. Cheltenham, Victoria: Aviation Theory Centre Pty Ltd.

Want to know more?

Notorious Five - Hazardous Attitudes
This Aviationknowledge page discuss the 5 notorious hazardous attitudes formulated by Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
Wikipedia - narcissism
This page discusses narcissism is further detail.
Team Resource Management - TRM
This Aviationknowledge page offers information on Team Resource Management
The Ego
Different views on the ego

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