Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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!

Advertising

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.

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Smart Ways to Be More Productive What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It 10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day 7 Things to Do in a Gossipy Work Environment 15 Signs Of Negative People

Trending in Work

1 5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You) 2 15 Best Entrepreneurs Books to Start Reading Now to Be Successful 3 17 Best Careers Worth Going Back to School for at 40 4 Top 10 Ways to Lead More Effectively with Humor 5 Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Smart Ways to Be More Productive

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on June 18, 2019

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common leadership styles and how you can determine which works best for you.

5 Types of Leadership Styles

I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

The Democratic Style

The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

    The Autocratic Style

    The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

    Advertising

    The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

    While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

      The Transformational Style

      Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

      Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

      Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

        The Transactional Style

        Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

        Advertising

        The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

        The Laissez-Faire Style

        The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

        In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

        Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

        You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

        Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

        The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

        Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

        I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

        Advertising

        In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

        What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

        Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

        1. Context Matters

        Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

        2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

        When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

        As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

        “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

        The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

        Advertising

        As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

        When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

        The Way Forward

        To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

        As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

        “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

        The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

        If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

        Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

        Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

        More About Leadership

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Read Next