Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

Want to Get Ahead? Be More Humble

ARCHIVES
Eating a slice of humble pie can help you in the workplace. Eating a slice of humble pie can help you in the workplace. bddigitalimages/Shutterstock.com

It should go without saying that being humble makes you more likable than being arrogant. Previous research has indicated that the humble are more quickly integrated into new groups, and that people are more likely to accept and collaborate with them. But humility can help your love life as well.

In a 2013 study (paywall), psychologist Daryl Van Tongeren told Quartz, he and other researchers examined how people perceived as humble collaborated with others. “You can’t exactly report on your own humility,” he says, “because that would kind of be bragging about it.” But those whom others rated as being more humble were able to form stronger social bonds as they worked to complete a task. Greater perceived humility led to faster acceptance by the group, and a higher status in it later on.

“Humility also facilitates forgiveness,” Van Tongeren says. People are more likely to blame braggarts for their faults. “It’s safe to say we’d all rather be friends with a humble individual,” Van Tongeren says, “But it’s probably also desirable among colleagues.”

According to a new study (paywall), humility makes a romantic relationship smoother, too. Just as coworkers and classmates will welcome a humble newcomer more quickly than a big-headed one, suitors find humble romantic prospects more attractive. This isn’t to say that everyone will be turned off by confidence and arrogance. “It seems to be that, while narcissism may be attractive at first blush,” Van Tongeren says, “you know, when someone seems to be the life of the party—that routine can get old pretty quickly. The narcissistic tend to burn bridges and sour relationships, and as soon as you’re thinking in terms of a substantive and committed relationship, you start looking for humility.”

And the power of humility extends beyond the first inklings of a relationship. “Because of that tendency to forgive that we’d seen in previous studies,” Van Tongeren says, “we wanted to see what happens in a particularly high-pressure, stressful bond.”

So the researchers examined people who were dating long-distance. These people generally reported higher rates of “unforgiveness”—that is, holding a grudge about some offense from the past several months—towards their partners than people dating and living in the same area. When one partner was perceived as being more humble, he or she was more likely to be forgiven. Van Tongeren is now involved in a study that will examine the effects of humility on committed relationships over the course of two years.

The authors of the study point out that they only examined Americans, and it’s possible that other cultures value a bigger ego. And before you start self-deprecating in front of your coworkers and dates, a word of caution: Since the authors didn’t investigate the upper limits of the effect, we’ve no way of knowing how much humility is enough to make you insufferable all over again.

Reprinted with permission from Quartz. The original story can be found here

(Image via bddigitalimages/Shutterstock.com)

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.