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8 Reasons Why You Should Not Be Too Humble At Work

8 Reasons Why You Should Not Be Too Humble At Work

Nobody likes a braggart at work and nobody respects a doormat. The secret to finding the right balance between being too humble and arrogant is a delicate one.

It is however well worth thinking about. After all, you have talents, skills, experience so why are you hiding your light under a bushel?

Here are 8 reasons why being too humble at work can actually hold you back and thwart your ambitions.

1. Nobody knows about your skills.

Ask yourself why nobody, including your boss, knows about the skills and successes you have attained. This may be caused by a humility overdose or that you are too shy to talk about them.

Perhaps you simply missed opportunities at team meetings, job perfromance chats and even in job interviews. Maybe you have not kept a careful track of them either and your memory lets you down just at the wrong moment.

What you can do.

Keep a record of your daily or weekly successes. Match them to your job description. Keep them handy mentally or as a hard list, and mention them at opportune moments.

Make sure that you add in “Accomplishments” to the agenda for any meeting you may have with your boss. Mention any relevant successes.

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If there is no formal agenda, always make a point of concluding the meeting with a remark such as, “Just thought I’d mention that I am getting some great feedback from customers on the new feedback forms and the team is ahead on the deadline for the report.”

A great idea to move forward is to look at the job description of your possible promotion and measure up how well you are doing already. This technique also helps you get ready for that all important interview.

2. You may get lumbered with more than your fair share of menial tasks.

Let us imagine you have been employed in a marketing role and you are doing a lot of menial and administrative tasks which are not in your job description. You may end up being a dogsbody. Very often, the reason is that your humility is being exploited and that is not fair.

What you can do.

If you are working for a start-up, then there may be nothing to be done as everybody is expected to muck in. But if you are in a larger organization where roles and responsibilities are well defined, then it may be time to speak up.

You need to be able to show that the menial tasks are preventing you from doing your real job, which is marketing. It is no harm to remind your boss that your skill set is in the job description. You could also remind her that the menial tasks need to be more fairly allocated.

If this fails, then you set your priorities right and leave the menial tasks at the bottom of the list so they are often not done at all.

3. Colleagues may underestimate you.

Have you thought about helping your coworkers? Maybe you are modest or you jealously want to keep your skills and experience to yourself. This is a mistake because most colleagues will underestimate you because you have never showcased your talents and skills.

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What you can do.

When there is a problem to be solved that is a perfect match for your skills set, step up to the plate. Offer your help. Your colleagues will not only be grateful but will be happy to endorse a person who is an expert and helpful. This sort of publicity will pay handsome dividends down the line.

4. You come across as lacking in confidence.

The problem with low self-esteem and a lack of confidence is that they tend to feed your humility habit. Nothing wrong with being a little humble but are you getting a little addicted? People are getting the wrong impression.

What you can do.

Focus on your achievements and stop regretting those failures. Make a mental list of your star qualities. Remind yourself that having the right mindset will increase your productivity, communication skills, and irresistible charm.

Before long, you will have reached the top of the ladder and it is all due to your intelligence and superb talent. OK, now just turn the volume down on those a little and you are ready to go. No need to strut!

“The proud peacock of today may be only a feather duster tomorrow.” – Rick Barnes

5. Your networking is not so effective.

When you are too humble while networking, this can leave a negative footprint. Your new business contact may think that you are not convincing, not qualified enough and are perhaps pessimistic.

You do not want to go to the other extreme where you are perceived as egocentric, arrogant and over confident. Displaying the right dose of humility is the secret.

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What you can do

Analyze your weaknesses and be aware of them when networking. Work on how to improve them. At the job interview you will certainly be asked about your weaknesses or even failures.

You would be surprised at how many candidates are flummoxed by this question. Claiming to have no weaknesses is a sure sign of ignorance, immaturity and a lack of self awareness.

6. Nobody knows about your great ideas.

This is another reason why being too humble does not pay off. You are the one who never gets more responsibility because your ideas are never broadcast. You also tend to shrug off compliments instead of saying a simple “thank you.”

What you can do.

Try to be more courageous and let your views and ideas be known. When you get a compliment, say thanks but also mention how much effort you put into it.

When someone asks for a volunteer for an important project, pluck up the courage to offer your services. Also, say why you are the one with the right skills set and experience.

7. You never become a leader.

Doubting your capabilities? Thinking that the company is going in the wrong direction or that a colleague is getting away with murder? Maybe you think that it is not worth the effort, but too much humility and self doubt here can ruin a career.

What you can do

You can start small by offering to take responsibility in your team for certain tasks. Speak out and speak up. The skills you have here are obvious to everyone and if they are not, then tell them!

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You will gain some useful experience and confidence. You will be much more aware of your strengths when you meet goals and deadlines. It is never too late to start.

8. Your failings are getting in the way.

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale

You are over thinking your defects and lack of skills. Part of the explanation may be that the wrong friends can exaggerate your faults and failings. I mean the so-called friends who are ready to criticize you and also try to discourage you at every turn. A mindset like that is an additional handicap.

What you can do.

You are the one who is only too conscious of your faults, failings, and lack of self-confidence. Gravitate towards positive and encouraging people who will recognize your efforts, talents and people skills. These are the people who will appreciate your true worth and, with their encouragement, you will be able to see that there is no need to be too humble. Just get the humility dosage right, OK?

Let us know in the comments how you overcame being too humble at work.

Featured photo credit: Assignment # 4.12/ kaferris via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Published on October 8, 2019

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

The late writer William S. Burroughs once said that “When you stop growing, you start dying.” It might have a morbid undertone, but it’s one hundred percent true in terms of one’s career.

The days of finding a job with one company that you can stick with for 30 years, and simply relax as you move up its company escalator are few and far between in today’s world. This isn’t necessarily bad news. On the contrary, it means that you’re the one in charge of shaping your career advancement.

By putting these principles and behaviors into practice, you’ll begin to see how to advance your career quickly. Ready? Let’s get started…

1. Define What Success Is for You

There’s no right or wrong definition of what success in your career looks like. The important thing is to figure out what success looks like for YOU. It might, and probably will, change along the way, but if you don’t have some sort of milestone on the horizon, then you won’t know which direction to go in.

Think about success in your career in terms of one year, five years, and 10 years. Once you have that, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work.

2. Learn How to Develop and Follow a Plan

Nobody just stumbles upon success accidentally. Sure, they may stumble upon breakthroughs or new methods accidentally, but all success stories have one thing in common — a plan.

Establish a timeline for the things that you want to achieve in your career in the next year, five years, 10 years, and so on. Consider the skills that you’ll need to learn to make these things happen and work on acquiring them.

3. Surround Yourself With Those Better Than You

It’s a rule of thumb among musicians that if you want to get better, then you need to get out of the bedroom and play with people who are better than you.

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By surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and where you want to be, you’ll not only see how these people climbed to where they are in their respective fields, but you’ll learn from them and naturally want to push yourself to be better in your own job as well.

4. Seek Out a Mentor(s)

A mentor will not only be able to help you refine and reach your career goals, but will be invaluable in landing promotions and finding unadvertised job openings.

One unique approach is to work on fostering a relationship with a mentor both within and outside of your company. This will help in giving you different perspectives as you rise up through the ranks in your company and career overall.

5. Stop Wasting Your Mornings

You may not think you’re a morning person, but if you can learn to be one, you’ll thank yourself 10 years down the road.

Prepare a to-do list of tasks that you want to accomplish the day before and work on knocking them out for at least one hour before you respond to morning emails. The problem with responding to emails first, is you’re giving your attention to somebody else’s agenda, instead of plotting your own course for the day.

6. Arrange or Attend a Networking Party

If you’re attending networking events simply because you might get a few free drinks, you’re doing them wrong. These events are great for meeting new people and forming relationships. Your goal shouldn’t be to get hired by the end of the night, but to simply make a good impression by being friendly and authentic. So what’s next?

Reach out a few days later via email or on social media to follow up and connect!

7. Pick Up Some New Skills

Nobody wants to be the old dog that can’t learn any new tricks. To move up in your career, you’re going to likely need to pick up new skills along the way. Maybe your company offers on-the-job training or you have the option of taking online classes at night.

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By learning new skills, you’ll not only be able to expand upon what you can already do, but you’ll make yourself more valuable to your employer and future employers.

8. Exploit the Benefits Already at Your Disposal

Remember what we just said about the possibility of your company providing on-the-job training? Take advantage of these sorts of benefits!

If you’re working for a company that allows you to job shadow other employees or has company mixers, you should attend these. They not only allow you to develop your skills within the company, but show seasoned executives within your field that you’re interested in more than just clocking in for a paycheck.

9. Make Yourself Indispensable

Good help is hard to find and employers want to retain outstanding employees. If you can learn to make yourself indispensable to your company, you’ll not only communicate that you’re successful, but will have a lot more job security. What’s this entail though?

It’s actually not all that difficult. By being reliable, adapting to new challenges, and holding your own work and performance to a high standard, you’ll stand out among your peers and others will take notice. Easy enough, right?

10. Get Off the Fence

People who advance in their careers are those who don’t shy away from voicing their opinion and stand up with authority when the opportunity arises.

If a problem arises in your company and you think you might have a solution or are willing to work to find one, then let others know. Employers value and promote problem solvers. Start off with something small and work your way up towards tackling more difficult tasks and projects.

11. Don’t Wait for More Responsibility, Ask for It

If you want more responsibility in your job, then be open about it with your manager. Your manager may be so busy with their own work that they weren’t aware you were looking for more challenges.

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Just make sure you can handle it and that you already show strong performance in your current duties. And if your manager doesn’t seem supportive about offering you more responsibility, well, then it could be time to look for new employment.

12. Stop Wasting Time on What You Don’t Want

If your career goals start with “I should do this…” there could be a problem. This kind of language in referring to goals can doom them to failure because the want isn’t there.

Consider using the RUMBA method (Reasonable, Understandable, Measurable, Behavioral and Agreed) when setting your goals. That “agreed” part should really be “want.” By going after career goals that you actually want to accomplish, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

13. Seek Out Feedback and Apply It

Simply doing your job might not always push you up in your career advancement. Too often, employees just assume that their bosses will notice their performance strides and reach out when the time is right to advance.

Don’t be afraid to regularly seek out feedback and ask for constructive criticism. It not only shows that you value your manager’s opinion but demonstrates that you care about your job and want to become better in your chosen field.

14. Pick Your Bosses Wisely

Advancing in your career can move a lot quicker if you’re working for the right people. If your boss isn’t any good at their job or doesn’t value you, then moving up could become difficult.

A great boss though, will be able to help you capitalize on your strengths and be an advocate for your success. If there aren’t any strong developers of talent in your management chain already, then look around for some and seek them out as mentors.

15. Learn to Develop Your Sense of Timing

The odds of asking for a promotion or raise are in your favor with over 70 percent of respondents to a survey from PayScale reporting some success. One thing to keep in mind that can make all the difference is when you ask.

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Some corporate cultures may prefer that employees reach out about advancement during their annual review, but maybe you work for a more free-spirited startup. The best approach may be to take note of when others advance and ask about how the organization handles employee development.

16. Work Hard and Promote Yourself

Working hard and delivering a solid job performance are the keys to advancing in your career no matter what field you’re in. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely humble about your accomplishments either.

Keep a record of your positive impact within the organization and let others both within your company and your field know that you’re enthusiastic about your role and work.

17. Don’t Just Build Your Network… Cultivate It

It’s way too easy to add new people to your LinkedIn network and then forget about them for all eternity. Rather than just collecting business cards or social media contacts, you should be cultivating relationships with the ones you already have.

Follow up with people that you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer to connect them with somebody you know in their field, or ask about a new job title they may have taken on. Doing so could be the spark that leads to a potential job referral.

18. Join a Professional Organization

The National Association of (insert your industry here) and other professional organizations can still offer a great wealth of advantages from networking to industry insights, and skill development.

Even outside of professional organizations dedicated to particular job fields, civic organizations can also be fantastic for making new contacts. After all, so much about career advancement is who you know, and you never know who you’ll meet who knows somebody else who is looking for someone with your skills and experience.

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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