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7 Steps to Practicing Humility that May Help You Keep Your Job

It should come as no surprise that the executives who have had the greatest impact are the ones who are the most humble. Don Tennant, writing for IT Business Edge, shares seven steps to personal humility from Edward D. Hess, a professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business:

  1. You will have to resist what your brain is telling you.
  2. Seek objective feedback about your ego.
  3. Change your idea of what “smart” looks like.
  4. Learn to put yourself in others’ shoes.
  5. Stay in the moment.
  6. Don’t let fear drive decisions.
  7. Grade yourself daily.

The first of these is to understand that the brain’s natural inclination will prove to be difficult to overcome. Humans by nature are very egotistical and have a tendency to hear the things that confirm what they know to be correct. The science has proven that innovative thinking is a team activity, and to actively engage in this activity, people need to be willing to closely analyze their own mistakes, a huge element of humility.

It may prove beneficial to receive objective feedback about one’s ego. People do not always have an accurate picture of the monster their ego could be. Having an outside perspective bridges this gap and allows for the acknowledgment of the problem.

The next element involves altering how “smart” appears in one’s own mind. Traditionally, intelligence was the measure of the amount of knowledge a person knew, but that has all changed. Presently, smartness is the acknowledgment of what a person does not know (very Socratic). Knowing limitations helps to better understand what needs to be done.

Along with looking inward, it is vital to look at other people and learn to see things from their perspective. In order to become less self-absorbed, a person needs to take daily actions in order to become more empathetic and compassionate. Keep in mind that one does not have to fully agree with a person in order to show compassion.

The fifth step is to quiet the mind and stay in the moment. Becoming consumed with the past or worrying endlessly about the future will get a person nowhere. Focusing on the present needs and occurrences helps to combat an ego-driven power trip. A person does not have to be right all the time, but they do continually have to put forth their best efforts to work with people. Do not allow fear to drive decisions. It is okay to make a mistake, even in front of other people. A mistake is an opportunity to learn how to achieve better successes in the future, not a detrimental blow to an ego that ends all.

Finally, keep a daily checklist to monitor how the humility venture is going. Have a visual to-do list about remaining humble, being open-minded, being a good listener, or any other positive attributes that will aid in the process. Review the list before meetings and then “grade” afterwards; you are bound to stay on track and become a better, more humble person.

You can read the original article here: http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/from-under-the-rug/why-lessons-in-humility-may-help-you-keep-your-job.html

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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