In a perfect world, merit alone would be the key driver behind career growth and development.
Unfortunately, Corporate America is far from a “perfect world.”
In an corporate environment where mean people earn more, I think there are several lessons that all individuals can learn from “mean” people if they want to see their career grow. As a self-proclaimed, and humbly affirmed, “nice guy” who has gone from entry-level HR Assistant to Interim HR Director of a 1,200 multi-state Federal Contractor to now HR Consultant, I can say that I got here by being nice but I didn’t let humility humble my growth.
Here are three ways humility can humble your job growth:
You won’t toot your own horn. How many times have you heard a manager or co-worker give you a pat on the back or send a congratulatory email for your hard work on a project? Not often, right? Well if people are rarely shouting praises about you then you have to take that responsibility upon yourself. When speaking with your manager and other persons of influence, learn how to build in the milestones and achievements that you’ve accomplished. “Mean” people do a great job of explaining their case and so should you!
Being humble can make you “blend in” very well…. too well. Pop quiz! Think back to high school or college and think about the most humble person that you can remember. What do you remember about them? As I am thinking back, I can only remember the fact that this particular person was “nice.” I can’t attribute any measurable achievement even though I can remember that they were just a nice guy. If humility trumps your ability to promote yourself then you may run the risk of blending in with the walls as opposed to standing out as a leader or person who has accomplished notable things.
You’ll quiver come performance review time. Performance Reviews are often hampered by a concept in HR called the “recency effect.” The recency effect is a term that describes managers who can only recall information that has happened within the a “recent” time frame. When managers fail to remember your efforts and you are humble about bringing them up, this makes for a terrible quiet storm that results in lower marks than you could’ve received if you only were able to speak up!
What can humble people learn to help grow their ability to communicate past accomplishments and to navigate career growth in spite of “mean” individuals? Here’s a list:
- Learn to confidently talk facts and figures.
- Document past performance so that you can remember it come performance review time.
- Let your personality shine through in conversations and in the workplace.
- Develop leadership potential by offering to take on tasks that “lead” rather than “support.”
- Learn to speak up and talk about yourself – that isn’t a crime :).
- Never forget your career goals and what you wish to accomplish – and always be in the drivers seat of making sure you get there.
Leadership Takeaway: Humble people need a boost. Don’t let your humble people go unnoticed but learn to encourage them to grow. Jumpstart:HR can help you learn to engage your humble individuals in a way that shows you care.
Human Resources Takeaway: The performance review process can be riddled with human error and inconsistency. Learn how to create a consistent performance review process that eliminates these things and gives all employees a fair review process.
Professional Development Takeaway: Humility can hinder your career by way of missed promotion or failure to network effectively at business functions. Schedule a chat with me and learn how to incorporate skills that show you know how to boast but not at the risk of being “mean.”