How to be humble.

The Secret To Good Leadership


Tallulah Goldsmith

2 years ago | 2 min read

Look around your workplace. Which employees are you most impressed with? Who stands out to you as self-assured, with no need for spoon feeding? They probably make up the best of the best in your workforce. You hired them for their impressive skill set, the pride they take in the achievements listed on their CV. What makes them so special?

I’m about to argue that the best people to employ are those with stacks and stacks of a secret ingredient. Humility. Why is being humble so important you may ask. Well, you’re about to find out.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

In the past, psychologists have not focussed on humility very heavily whilst researching personality traits. It is associated with quietness and submissiveness, and therefore gives an impression of introversion. Here’s why being humble is much more important than you might think.

Newly carried out research has found that the central feature of humility is hypo-egoic non entitlement.

This means, regardless of the success that the said person has achieved, they do not feel that they should be entitled to any special treatment as a result. They will tend to be more open minded, accepting of change, and aware of their surroundings.

In the said research, the participants were asked to identify a number of their positive accomplishments, followed by a rating of this attainment. Humility was not related to participants’ ratings of themselves. They were identified as humble not because they lacked a sense of achievement from their success (they were definitely proud of their wins), but because they strongly disagreed with the idea that the said successes could ever result in an alteration in the way they were treated.

They gained fulfilment from their triumphs, not egoistic personality traits.

A lack of these aforementioned ego driven traits results in employees that are fair and thoughtful, with healthier interpersonal relationships that aren’t based off of selfish choices. 

Having an employee with a great ability to form constructive relationships is wonderful! They have a built in HR function at birth.

They are less likely to impose on other people or expect special treatment, because their achievements have given them an internal self-assurance, as opposed to seeking fulfilment from how other’s respond to their success.

There’s no need to downplay your achievements in order to practice humility. Don’t worry about that. Being humble means you’re secure in your abilities, and Senior Management should love that.

It makes you the kind of employee that doesn’t get irate over minor inconveniences, because you feel confident that you’ll be able to get yourself out of trouble.

And as for Senior Management- well, a humble leader makes for a brilliant boss. Flaunt your wins, and be transparent about your setbacks, but make sure that the only space between you and your employees is experience- not social standing or general treatment.

A humble person seeks a socially balanced space in which to prosper, which doesn’t mean employees shouldn’t have a higher level of respect for their bosses, it just means that the reasons for the differing social standing are obvious and reasonable.


Created by

Tallulah Goldsmith

Psychology student writing about behavioural sciences, business psychology and child development







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