What are the critical success factors for a career? You might think of Hard work or Hierarchy respect or Holistic approach, maybe High targets or Heuristic excellence or – why not? – Humor. You might even believe that it is your business Highlights or your Hard skills that will define your professional future. It could be Honesty, couldn’t it? It could be Hands-on experience, as well. Yes, you have to be a High flyer and Helpful to others, and you absolutely need to apply a Human approach in your professional behavior to proceed further with your career. However, all the above will not take you that far. So, which is the magic H – recipe for a successful career?
Believe it or not, it is HUMBLENESS! Humbleness is what will make you thrive… at the end, if not from the very beginning.
It sounds surprising, doesn’t it? The stereotype of a humble person does not match the profile of a successful professional. Nor does an obvious connection come to mind when trying to “fit” humbleness in any hard (or even soft) skill required from today’s “successful” people. Even so, if you think beyond what is regarded obvious, usual and expected, superior qualities of a humble person are revealed. Qualities that prove decisive for a long-term sustainable career. Qualities that evidently make their owners different, more agile, less arrogant, better listeners, compassionate colleagues, empathetic managers, passionate contributors, honest allies, patient fighters, confident winners, unselfish sharers.
It might not be difficult to understand why being humble is a “useful” characteristic for one’s personal and social life but in business? And especially in order to build a top career? Why is HUMBLENESS such a critical factor for the advancement of a career? Why is it such an important element for any worthwhile career at all? Straightforward, common-sense based rationalization may help to explain.
I follow a 13-steps “pathway” to support above argument in a clear-cut way.
1. Humble people are great listeners regardless of the person talking to them. They tend to speak less and listen more, and carefully.
2. Therefore, they have a deeper understanding of what is going on in other people’s minds and around them …
3. … which gives them a wider perspective to think and a lot more of alternatives to act upon.
4. As a result, they make inclusive, wiser decisions.
5. And even when they have made their decision, they still exercise Humbleness as their compass in the never-ending learning process they’re committed to.
6. As a result, they never feel “sure”, so they constantly search for improvements. This makes them adopt change more easily than the average people.
7. Consequently, they become crucial contributors of every dynamically developing organization whatever function they are in.
8. Because they take their role very seriously, they try harder, they set consistently high targets and they perform far better than the average “perfect” professional. And they never “show off”.
9. Humble people respect their work, their life, and others. They tend to behave as “one of them”, so people easily identify with them. Beware, though, that they are not likely to accept being underestimated.
10. Moreover, they recognize diversity as the basic truth of life. And they facilitate it broadening the limits of the organizations they work for.
11. Impressively enough, they are not afraid to admit: luck, mistakes or failure. They are grateful and positive, and never give up. “Sorry” and “thank you” are not scarce in their vocabulary.
12. They want to be useful to the society, so they are supportive and creative and giving. They share without pre-calculating a reward.
13. And even, when they have reached a high level in their careers, they still strive to achieve more not because of greediness but because they deeply realize how “small” their achievements have been in comparison to those of other people around them, and especially in comparison to what they can further achieve. The motto “better is the enemy of good” is their dynamic stance of life.
Although Humble employees should be particularly preferred and predominantly promoted by employers, the higher up we go on the “ladder” the fewer such people do we meet. In fact, we frequently come across “successful” people being overconfident, superficial and arrogant, and sometimes even embarrassing. In those people’s minds being Humble equals to being weak and vulnerable. They are used to “shouting” their small wins as great achievements, neglecting the contribution of their teams, presenting themselves as the “I-know-it-ALL” prophets, and the “I-have-done-it-ALL” champions.
The louder the scarcity of Humble people is in life, and especially in business, the more impressive their existence in leading positions of an organization proves to be. The fact that Humble Leaders feel comfortable enough to get exposed or admit ignorance without pretending, imitating, showing off or “pushing” is their most powerful weapon toward being respected and loved and followed, and, thus, toward turning into great leaders. Therefore, success is evident for Authentic Humble Leaders; it comes as a natural result of their attitude in life and career.
Now, taking it to the – unfortunately – extreme, the mixed feeling of pleasurable shock or shocking delight is absolutely justified when encountering Humble Entrepreneurs…
if you want to build a solid, admirable and fulfilling career get started by “jumping” directly to the 8th letter of the English alphabet (H for Humbleness). And keep there, however high you reach.
*I hereby use the terms success and successful (without quotes (“”)) in the way I have already defined them in a previous article of mine (10 rules to follow for a LIFE LONG successful career: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140922131105-41409875-10-simple-rules-to-follow-for-a-life-long-successful-career?trk=mp-author-card ).
What other letters of the alphabet do you consider critical for your career? Please share with us.