Humility in the Workplace and the Benefits It Brings

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 3, 2022 | Published April 26, 2021

Updated June 3, 2022

Published April 26, 2021

In order to be an effective employee or manager, there are certain attributes that you can develop. These characteristics can help everyone in the workplace collaborate more, appreciate each other in new ways and grow as a team so the company can realize success. One important attribute that connects the others and helps creativity, accountability and satisfaction in the workplace is humility. In this article, we define humility, share the benefits of having humility in the workplace and explain how you can display humility at work.

Related: 14 Common Qualifies Employers are Looking For

What is humility?

Humility is an attribute that means you're free from egotism and arrogance. Instead, being humble means you tend to think of others more, including how your actions can affect those you work with and the customers and clients you serve. Even if you're in a leadership position within a department or on a particular project, humility means you recognize that others may have a better way of doing things or an idea that's stronger than the original, and that you welcome these differences, celebrate them and actively try to incorporate them into the workplace.

Related: 83 Core Value Examples for the Workplace

What are the benefits of humility at work?

There are several benefits you can experience by bringing humility to the workplace, including:

More innovation

One characteristic of a humble person is that they are open to, and often naturally, ask for the opinions and ideas of others. When you do this, you can learn more and discover new perspectives, and you may find that the workplace becomes a more innovative space for everyone who works there. Innovation often leads to business success, especially as staff members are developing their ideas to meet shared company goals.

Increased productivity

Workplace humility is also likely to contribute to increased productivity as employees and other staff members want to do well, collaborate with each other more and desire to produce high-quality work, whether it's focused on a product or service. Humble people are also more likely to seek resources and give others the help they need to complete their tasks.

Higher employee satisfaction

A humble work environment also contributes to an employee's job satisfaction. Leaders who practice humility by asking employees for their opinions, accepting ideas for how to better serve customers and clients and acknowledging team members who have made a difference can make an employee feel empowered and validated. In turn, when employees have these positive feelings about their leadership and the company where they work, they tend to be more satisfied with their role and the organization they represent.

Employee loyalty

An organization may experience lower employee turnover when humility is a part of the company culture. Increased employee loyalty comes from having members of your team who appreciate the chance to be heard, feel like they are an important part of the organization and know that their work and ideas matter to the company's success. Employees who are happy at work often choose to stay employed at the organization for longer, and may even refer other high-quality candidates in their network to the company's open positions.

Better ideas

Employees who feel empowered by their leaders may feel more comfortable voicing their ideas in the workplace, which can bring better ideas to the business. This also increases the possibility of innovative ideas that help a company meet its goals and get recognized as an industry leader. Plus, when leaders listen, employees usually follow suit, supporting each other's ideas and building off of them.

Stronger professional relationships

Humility often leads to collaboration because employees and managers alike realize the strengths of those they work with. You can better appreciate the experiences, education and skill set your coworkers have that balance your own, which can help grow your professional relationships into ones that improve output for the business and make the work environment pleasant.

How to show humility at work

If you want to make sure you're showing humility at work and contributing to a positive company culture, consider these steps:

1. Accept feedback

Feedback, even constructive or negative feedback, can be helpful so you can grow in your role, expand your skill set or learn how to better work with others. It's important to accept the feedback you're given with appreciation and respect for the person providing it to you, whether it's a superior or peer, or even an external customer. Use the feedback to plan your steps toward improvement so you can show those you work with that you take their feedback seriously.

Read more: Growing Your Career: Learning From Negative Feedback

2. Acknowledge mistakes

A part of being humble is acknowledging mistakes you make or that your team made because of poor training or a miscommunication. When you're more open to admitting to the mistakes you've made, you can help others feel comfortable doing the same, which leads to a more open work environment where everyone can feel supported by their teammates.

3. Ask others for help

Because everyone has a unique employment history and set of personal experiences, there are usually varying perspectives in the workplace. It's important to recognize this and be open to asking others for help with a project or task if you feel they are able to offer ideas that differ from your own. This shows that you appreciate the insight they have and realize that you don't have all the answers.

4. Actively listen

When you actively listen to others, including management, coworkers and customers, you're letting them know that you genuinely want to hear what they have to say and recognize the value of their words. Show you're listening by maintaining eye contact, being open with your body language and asking questions when the person you're speaking with says something you don't understand.

Read more: Improve Your Listening in the Workplace (With Tips)

5. Ask questions

Humility is knowing that the thoughts and opinions of others are important because they bring experience and knowledge that you may not have, so be open to asking people questions. Seek counsel in others and ask them to analyze a situation of yours to see if they have different feedback that you haven't thought of. They may have an alternate way to solve the problem you're facing or have questions of their own that will make you rethink your process and develop something even better than your original ideas.

6. Sign up for training

Not only do trainings, like webinars, conferences and coaching, help you grow professionally, but they can also show your humility and may even make you more humble. The goal of training is to learn something entirely new or be in the position to expand on knowledge you already have about a subject.

When you attend training, you're acknowledging that you always have something to learn and that you have a willingness to do so. If you attend a training about a topic you're well versed in, yet you learn something new anyway, you may feel more humble as you realize that your knowledge is finite and that you must rely on the experience of others to grow in your learning.

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