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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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Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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