While arrogance is almost exclusively a vice, humility is not always a virtue. Many of us end up damaging our careers while trying to be humble. While it doesn’t do to brag about everything, it also is not helpful to constantly undermine yourself. This will make others think you are less competent than you actually are, and can even lead to people taking credit for your hard work. Today we are going to look at ways to overcome your excessive humility, without swinging too far left and ending up in the grips of arrogance.
Know your Strengths- I want you to take a moment to think about compliments that you receive on a regular basis. Think about the compliments that you brush off, the ones that feel mundane at this point, and the ones that feel almost embarrassing. These are indicative of strengths. If you are being told time and time again that you are good at something, it usually means that you are indeed good at that thing. Knowing and recognizing this is the first step to owning it- and owning it is crucial for combating excessive humility. Once you know your strengths you can use them, and let others know that you have valuable skills that you would like to use.
Don’t lie about your work- When we think about people lying about the work they have done, we generally think about people taking too much credit- but the reality is most people lie in order to take less credit (out of misguided humility). You should never lie about what you have done, or how much work you put in, even if you are doing so to show humility. If you did a lot of work on a project everyone in the know should know that you did a lot of work on that project. Honesty should always trump humility, it is far more important that you are an honest employee than it is for you to be a humble one.
Ask for feedback- A little reassurance can go a long way, and the best way to get it is to ask for it. After you finish a project, try asking your manager how you did. This will let you know if you actually did a good job on the project, and will prove useful regardless of how well the project went. If you did a great job, your manager will tell you, which will give you some serious reassurance of your strengths. Remember how good it felt to get a good grade in school? This will feel the same- and could give your confidence a lovely little boost. If you did not complete the project well, this will mitigate the harm. You will find out more about where you went wrong, and your boss will see that you care about your performance. This will help you improve in the future.
Pushing through excessive humility without becoming arrogant can be tough, but it is a necessary exercise. However, if you focus on your strengths, take credit for your work, and ask for feedback, you will be equipped with the necessary self-knowledge and confidence to be a balanced employee!