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Does humility matter?

“You should be more humble.”

Has someone ever said that to you? Odds are, it probably made you feel angry or frustrated. It’s funny how, when our pride is pointed out to us, the comment tends to inspire the opposite reaction of its intended effect.

Research shows that humility isn’t just a nice character trait. Humble people tend to be the most effective leaders and are more likely to be high performers.

We sat down with our National Sales Manager, Randon Kent, to get his take on how humility can have a positive impact in the workplace and our lives.

So what is humility?

Broadly, humility means that you view others as superior to yourself. It means you live each and every day treating others like they’re better than you.

Now, if your eye just started twitching after reading that last sentence, let me clarify: Being humble doesn’t mean being wishy-washy or weak. There’s a difference between being prideful and being confident.

A prideful attitude forms when a person is closed-minded to the ideas of others. Confidence, on the other hand, is an assuredness that you are able to do things well based on previous experience. Humility is being confident in your abilities, but also being willing to admit that I’m not always right.

Humility and confidence don’t compete with one another — they actually go together really well.

6 things you can start doing now

While none of us like to admit it, we all struggle with being humble. It’s human nature to be prideful. Whenever we try to adopt a little humility, we’re fighting against our natural instincts.

It might always seem like an uphill battle, but humility is a fight worth fighting. To get you started, the following are six things you can start doing right now:

  1. Be open to the opinions of others. Acknowledging the fact that you don’t know everything opens the door for others to share their thoughts. People want to work with and be around people that want to hear their opinions.
  2. Make sure you tend to others’ needs. Is your co-worker’s trash can full? Is the office coffee station cluttered and disorganized? Fix it. Performing menial tasks for others cultivates humility.
  3. Admit mistakes. You don’t have all the answers, and sometimes you mess up. Nobody’s perfect. The willingness to openly admit this can go a long way.
  4. Accept ambiguity. Some things are unknown, and we won’t be 100% satisfied each time. Being humble means accepting that a specific answer is not always known or possible.
  5. Engage in self-reflection. Growing in humility starts with looking at areas in our life that we can improve. This process keeps the ego in-check and ensures that we are being proactive about making ourselves better.
  6. Let people do their jobs. Micro-managing, besides being great at killing morale, is a pretty prideful approach to leadership. Just because it’s not being done the way you would do it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Want to learn more? Check out the original Fast Company article here.