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Leadership Nudge® 300 – The “Get Better” Self

The defending behaviors of the “be good” self actively inhibit our willingness to accept critique. The “be good” self is protective about attaching our ego to what we’ve done in the past. Instead, the “get better” self invites feedback and involves asking questions and seeking help. This leads to learning, growth, and innovation.

Learn more by reading this blog post – What it takes to reflect on the work you’ve completed.


I’m standing in front of a 19th century coalfired steam engine. Now let’s say you were an engineer and you were responsible for designing or working on or making these steam engines better. That’s what your life was about and it was good. These steam engines made the lives of many people better by reducing the cost of transportation. But now someone comes along with a new idea, “Hey, let’s make a diesel engine or worse yet oh my gosh, an electric engine!” Those engines are better because they’re faster, cheaper to operate, and create less pollution than these engines. But your ego is attached to this.  

What’s happening there is your be good self — the sense of, I’m worthy, that my work has value — is getting in the way of the get better self. 

In organizations that’s an impediment to innovation and improvement. What we want to do is have the get better self have supremacy The get better self invites feedback, is willing to take criticism, and is not afraid and protective about attaching our ego, to what we’ve done in the past. It’s forward looking.  

Let your get better self reign supreme and tamp down the tendencies, the protective tendencies, of the be good” self. I’m David Marquet, that’s your Leadership Nudge. 



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