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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

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Robert Locke

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

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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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