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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 August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

More About Continuous Growth

Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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