How Too Much Humility Can Hamper Your Success

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Most leaders need to traverse the tightrope of establishing a balance between confidence and over-confidence. With recent events in the media, polarity appears to be exceedingly noticeable in how leaders present themselves to the public. Some are taking a brasher, more hubristic approach, whereas others lead rather subtly, exercising humility. Arrogance can often drive people away and make a person appear less respectable. After all, no one likes a show-off. Our society looks down on haughtiness, with our elders teaching us to be humble from a young age, warning us of the ills of bragging. 

But is there such thing as being too humble? And if there is, how is it hampering your success? 

Recognizing Humility 

Let’s start by saying there is nothing wrong with being humble. Humility is a very honourable trait and certainly something to be proud of. However, your accomplishments and successes merit you to be equally proud as well. If you find yourself underplaying your hard-earned achievements to others, ask yourself why you are doing so. By bringing too little attention to your success, you are opening the door to be underestimated by your peers. 

People May Mistake You for a Follower

We’ve all heard the saying, if not been directly told, that everyone is replaceable. And in the competitive and sometimes aggressive world of business, this scare tactic could easily become a reality. Influential leaders are obligated to make tough calls, implement unfavourable decisions, take responsibility, and stand by those choices. Inability to support your choices can result in you being placed on the backburner, permitting others to take the spotlight. Our achievements and accomplishments separate us from the crowd, making us irreplaceable. A beneficial exercise to be mindful of your relative strengths and achievements is to list what you bring to the table that others can not. 

Take the Compliment

If you tend to be on the humbler side, that is okay! However, learning to be humble without undervaluing yourself erases the fine line between staying stagnant and growing. Practice the power of positive affirmations. Studies show that when receiving a compliment, the brain produces dopamine, also known as the feel-good hormone. When a colleague, superior, or employee gives you positive feedback, the likelihood is they probably mean it. So, say thank you and give yourself an internal round of applause. 

Don’t Be the Ladder for Others’ Growth 

A sad but true common practice in the professional world is that people will use you as a ladder, if you let them. Ladders only have room for one person, and if you give yours up to someone else, you are allowing opportunities for success to pass you by. Sometimes people need a reminder of their capabilities and value, and that’s okay. In a world where it’s easy to become caught up with working really hard, all of those extra hours you put in may be overlooked. Don’t be shy to draw attention to where it is required.

Brooke Parker | Contributing Writer

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