5 ways humility can help you get ahead in your career

When we think of traits that successful people typically exhibit, many come to mind – including technical prowess, communication and interpersonal skills, charisma, enthusiasm and vision. But one important factor is often overlooked: humility.

Humility is derived from the Latin ‘humilitas’, meaning ‘from the earth’. Since ancient times, it has been considered a primary virtue, and rightly so.

Humility is not only associated with work engagement, effective commitment and enhanced job performance, it also empowers the climate in the entire organization.

Here are five proven ways to show humility at work, increase your productivity and contribute to positive company culture.

1. Be open to feedback

Accepting all kinds of feedback including constructive or negative feedback can help you grow in your role, enhance your skill set and help you work better with others. A sure sign of humility is accepting the feedback you’re given with appreciation and respect for the person providing it to you, irrespective of the source it came from – a colleague, superior or a client. This also demonstrates that you take their feedback seriously. People like to work with humble people who value their opinions rather than ignore or dismiss them.

When you are humble you are ready to take others’ input to ensure that you have all the facts and can make the right decisions.

2. Admit your mistakes

As humans, we are prone to make mistakes. Acknowledging mistakes you make or that your team made because for whatever reason is a sign of maturity and humility.

The instant you become comfortable with admitting the mistakes you’ve made, you can help others feel fine with  doing the same. This leads to a more open work environment where everyone can feel supported by their teammates. By showing a willingness to share your own faults and demonstrating how you dealt with and recovered from them, you earn your team’s trust.

3. Ask others for help

In a typical workplace with multiple personalities, there are usually varying perspectives on any given day. It’s important that you recognize this and be willing to ask others for help with a task or project if the need arises. They may be able to share ideas that can differ from your own.

This also demonstrates that you value their opinion and appreciate the insight they offer. Humility is knowing that you may not have all the answers at all times.

4. Actively listen to others before commenting

When you actively listen to others, including your customers, your co-workers and the management, you’re letting everyone know that you genuinely recognize their opinion and are ready to hear their point of view.

To demonstrate that you listen in a humble manner, maintain eye contact, be expressive, open and accommodating.

5. Be open to asking questions

Humble people acknowledge their limitations and strengths and at the same time appreciate others’ strengths and contributions. Without letting their ego get in the way, they maintain an open mind and a desire to continuously learn from others.

A humble person acknowledges that the thoughts and opinions of others are equally important as their insights can eliminate many of the blind spots you may possess. Acknowledging your ignorance of the subject matter and seeking feedback and asking questions always pays off in the long run.

In ending there are many benefits of being humble in life. Especially in the workplace it can lead to increased productivity,  business success, higher satisfaction and morale, increased loyalty and overall stronger professional relationships. To quote  Rick Warren, the author of The Purpose Driven Life: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others.”


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