A while back I wrote about the humbleness and the dangers it can create. I did so at the request of Michelle Held (Twitter). After that post she asked, “What do we do about this?” This post is the answer.
The danger of humbleness shows when we discount our talents too much. We then believe it is easy to do what we do. When people do not, we look at them negatively. We end up wronging our relationships, communications and leadership. When one business owner complained about his people not seeing some things, I reminded him, “Doug, if they could, they would start their own business.”
Approach to the Danger of Humbleness
When people do not do what we think they should do, we best to see it in one of two ways:
- They cannot do it.
- They do not want to do it.
Too often though we claim they are lazy. In this approach, laziness does not exist. This wrongs them and us. We miss their true talents, and we make bad choices. We wrong our leadership.
Implementing the Approach
To implement this approach and avoid the danger of humbleness, we do one or both of the following. If they cannot do something, we train them. If they don’t want to do it, we influence them.
With training we keep two thoughts in mind. First, most times fear stands in the way of learning: fear of failure or of humiliation. Second, we fit the training to their learning style. The main mistake we make is not breaking down the task or idea into small enough parts. If we are good at something, we often see many steps as one.
Influencing so people want to do something also has two parts. First, we change the way they look at the situation. This may mean educating them or changing their assumptions. Second, as this might not be enough, we improve and leverage our relationships with them. We remember that simply asking folks to help us can be a very powerful motivator.
The danger of humbleness makes our self-view seem very simple, the default. Thus, we push it on others without knowing it. In the end though, we devalue their talents and ours.
Read more about Michelle: Michelle Held in “Yes Woman”