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February 4, 2013 / mike54martin

Humility… At Work??


A wise person once said that humility is not thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less often. That in itself makes humility a valued trait in the workplace. Humility allows us to accept our own imperfections as well as those of others. It also lets us make mistakes and learn from them instead of punishing ourselves or others for the process of growing.

Not a Weakness

Many people think of humility or being humble as some sort of weakness but the reality is far from that belief. We have plenty of arrogant, boastful and vain people around us. Those are the weaklings. The strongest people are those who don’t need to pull other people down so that they can rise up. Humility can distinguish a true leader from someone who just seeks power or authority.

No Ego in the way

Most people who have a high degree of humility are the best people to work for or with. Their ego does not have to be stroked all the time and they will often go more than halfway to meet the needs and demands of others. What’s not to like about that?


It also possible to be prideful or one’s own abilities and attributes and still be humble. Famous athletes like Jesse Owens and Gordie Howe are prime examples of that. Their strengths allowed them to win Olympic gold medals and Stanley Cups but their humility is what makes us like them. And we suspect why they seemed so happy and carefree about their lives.

Without Arrogance

Humility may in fact be pride without arrogance, another worthwhile ideal to strive for, at work and in the rest of our lives. Too many managers and CEO’s have been brought down to earth because of their excessive pride and massive egos. Those less than positive attributes may have allowed them to walk over others on the way to the top, but it’s always a pleasure to meet them again on the way down.

And I love this quote by author Steve G. Makris to remind me and others why humility is such a great virtue: “Always remember when you are on top of the world, that the earth rotates every 24 hrs.”

This post first appeared on

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and author of The Walker on the Cape, a Sgt. Windflower mystery.

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