Being Humble Builds Stronger Relationships at Work

multiracial businesswomen with laptop talking about work
Being humble at work can help you to boost your relationships. Find out how - and how you can become more humble yourself!

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It’s good to be humble at work. We have talked about the benefits of humility before. But, new research suggests that being humble can build stronger relationships in the workplace. It also suggests that these stronger relationships make people perform better.

Are you being humble toward others at work? And what are the benefits of doing so? Find out below!

What Does it Mean to be Humble?

There are three core components to humility. First, showing humility requires that you tell others when you need help or you don’t know how to do something. Humble people know that they don’t always have the answer, and that’s ok. They ask for assistance or advice from others when needed, instead of pretending they know what to do.

Second, being humble means that you compliment others for their talents and skills. Humble people notice and call out others’ strengths. They see the benefits of working with a team of effective people, instead of viewing others’ abilities as a threat.

Third, being humble also entails listening to and taking others’ advice. It’s not enough just to ask for help. Humble people also listen to the guidance of their peers and take it into account as they formulate next steps. Instead of viewing others’ advice as a signal of their own weakness, they view it as a helpful tool to improve their own talents and skills.

Being humble can help your team get ahead.
Being humble can help your team get ahead.

What are the Benefits of Being Humble?

Being humble is important for a variety of reasons, but this post is focused on improving relationships. Research shows that being humble toward your coworkers improves their psychological safety when they are with you. When you admit your own weaknesses to others, it makes them more comfortable to admit theirs as well. This allows people to feel safe because they don’t have to pretend that they feel 100% on board or prepared to tackle something, if they truly have concerns about their own or others’ capabilities.

Further, when you show others’ that you notice their strengths, and value their advice, they become more confident to take risks. This is important for boosting psychological safety as well. If team members feel they have something valuable to contribute to the group, they are more likely to speak up. They are also more likely to propose creative or innovative ideas that might help the team to improve their performance.

Being humble helps others to feel safe.
Being humble helps others to feel safe.

Should You Always Show Humility to Others?

While humility is generally a very positive trait, you don’t need to always be humble toward everyone in order to reap rewards. For example, if your boss wants you to take on a high-level task that would be good for your career, admitting your weaknesses might detract from your career progress. Instead, you might assure your boss that you are prepared, even if you might need to do some additional homework to get there.

If there are particular peer relationships that you really want to ensure are highly productive, being humble toward those individuals might be your best bet. It might seem counterintuitive to show weakness toward those who you want to build the most high performing relationships with. But, showing humility is a really useful way to show that you believe you’re more successful together than apart!

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