When your career is going well, it can easily go to your head. You might start thinking you’re unstoppable and better than everyone else. Getting lost in your own success can often lead to a downfall, where you destroy everything you’ve built over time. One of the best antidotes to the toxicity of career success is humility.
Humility at work
Having humility might seem inappropriate for career advancement, but humility isn’t about hiding your talents and successes. Instead, being humble means you recognise your strengths and weaknesses. It also means you’re not arrogant: you know when to ask for help or when to admit you don’t know something.
Humble employees tend to be team players. They’re not ego-maniacs who always have to be right. An article in The Harvard Business Review underscores the value that a humble mindset brings to workplace teams – it encourages genuine teamwork where team members at all levels accept that others may be better at certain things, whether planning, presenting or training new staff.
The power of humility
Humility enables managers and employees to make better decisions. They don’t pretend to know everything but have the presence of mind and confidence to consult with others. Humble people are also more careful when they prepare presentations, reports or projects because they’re never complacent. Moreover, they’re respectful towards clients – both big and small – never taking them for granted.
Because humble employees are aware of their limitations, they work on them by participating in training courses. They also learn from colleagues. They rarely regard themselves as the smartest person in the room.
And humble employees learn from mistakes. They can objectively identify the cause of problems and honestly assess their own role in them. This allows the team or organisation to get back on track, potentially avoiding more serious problems further down the line.
Why humility is important for your career
The ability to work as part of a team is a sought after skill. Recruiters often want details about your teamwork experience and what you did when things went wrong. They’ll be listening carefully to whether you say “I” or a more humble “we”, and whether you’re able to give credit to others.
If you can manage not to blame your colleagues or managers for failures, then you’ll impress any interview panel. Your humility might even be instrumental in getting you a new job!
Do you agree?