People on social media who have small to no filters gain massive followings. Politicians who scorch all norms win office. We hail famous jerks in business. In today’s attention-is-considered-an-asset world, humility can seem as quaint and outdated as an IBM Selectric typewriter. But our research has found that practical humility is an incredibly powerful tool for personal and professional growth.
What Humility is Not
Humility is not weakness or self-deprecation. It doesn’t mean lacking self-esteem or failing to acknowledge achievements. It’s not about denying one’s worth but rather embracing it with grace and modesty.
Here are some ways to embrace practical humility in your business endeavors.
Entitlement, a belief that one inherently deserves privileges or special treatment, is a trait that can hinder professional growth and damage relationships in the business sphere. In today’s competitive market, it’s essential to be aware of how our behavior and mindset impact our colleagues, superiors, and subordinates.
Humility begins with self-awareness. Take the time to understand your strengths, weaknesses, and biases. Recognize that you don’t have all the answers and that you can learn from others. Stephen Covey, the famous business guru, often emphasized the importance of seeking first to understand before being understood. Practice active listening and show genuine interest in the perspectives and experiences of others, whether they are colleagues, employees, or clients.
It’s essential to understand the perspectives of others, whether they’re colleagues, employees, or clients. When we put ourselves in another person’s shoes, actively listening and understanding others’ needs can pave the way for more meaningful collaborations.
Acknowledge the Efforts of Others
In a competitive business environment, it’s easy to fall into the trap of seeking personal recognition and credit for success. However, humility means recognizing that success is often a team effort. Acknowledge the contributions of your colleagues and give credit where it is due. By fostering a collaborative spirit, you not only build stronger teams but also demonstrate humility.
Seek Feedback Regularly
Regular feedback keeps us grounded. Encourage colleagues and mentors to provide constructive criticism and take it to heart. This feedback is invaluable in identifying areas of improvement and understanding how our actions affect those around us.
True humility involves a willingness to serve others. In the business world, this can mean providing value to your customers, employees, and community. Consider how your products or services can genuinely benefit others rather than solely focusing on profit.
Gratitude is a powerful expression of humility. Take time each day to reflect on the things you are thankful for, both personally and professionally. Express appreciation to those who have supported you along the way.
Embrace a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. Humble individuals understand that they can always improve and are open to learning from their mistakes. In business, this means acknowledging your failures and using them as stepping stones toward success.
In a world that often values ego and self-promotion, practicing humility in business can set you apart as a true leader. As Stephen Covey once said, “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.”
By cultivating self-awareness, embracing a growth mindset, collaborating with others, serving, seeking feedback, and practicing gratitude, you can incorporate humility into your business practices. Ultimately, humility not only enhances your personal and professional growth but also contributes to a more positive and inclusive business environment.