Why being humble is so important at work

People who effectively learn from mistakes share one common characteristic: humility

By Christoph Seckler

Learning from errors and mistakes seems to be the mantra of our time. Studies also show that people who learn from errors are more creative, more resilient, and show higher performance in volatile work environments.

Are you interested in improving the learning from mistakes in your firm by fostering some more humility? Here are three evidence-based tips:

Create a positive attitude

The attitude towards humility is the degree to which people view humility as something good or desirable. If we see something as good, it is also likely that we will engage in related behaviors. Humble people see value in errors and the information that they provide for their own learning. This gives them an edge over others.

Establish cultural norms

Social norms have a strong influence on how we behave. Social norms guide people in what behaviors are expected. Yet, in many firms humility is unlikely to be among the highest held cultural norms.

You can foster relevant cultural norms by praising behaviors that are associated with humility. Praise employees when they actively seek feedback, even in a critical situation. Honor people when they acknowledge the strengths of others. And support people who are eager to learn new things. This way, you indicate to others what the cultural norm should be.

Make it easy for people

People engage in behavior when they perceive ease in doing so. In other words, when it is easy to do something, then it is more likely that people will also show that behavior. While showing appreciation for others, and being teachable may not be so difficult, viewing oneself accurately may be trickier; particularly when things go wrong.

(Courtesy: Weforum.org)

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