My grandmother used to say that in her times, when they made a charitable contribution, the right hand didn’t know what the left one did. I understood it then to mean that they were magnanimous enough that they didn’t count the value of the giving, for the thing that mattered was the thought. Little did I realize (many years on) that there was more to it than meets the eye – the real significance of what she really meant was highlighting a specific human quality: humility, that showed through even the giving aspect of life.
These days it is seen as important for one to highlight one’s contributions in a competitive workspace – in avenues like the performance reviews, there is a specific opportunity for the individual (by way of what’s referred to as self appraisals) to highlight one’s own contribution. The highlighting of performance I am referring to is beyond this – something that I have come to understand in various high-performance coaching and mentoring classes that I was recently exposed to. Delving into leading high-performing teams, the instructors encourage the leadership to actually start pushing the teams to exhibit the “be in your face” attitude to visibility.
This is being spoken of as the mantra for being aggressive at work and thereby successful at being visible. As with any quality, anything that is overdone becomes its own detriment. It’s a thin line to tread between being humble about one’s contributions versus a public display of one’s achievements. Where exactly do we draw this line?
I don’t have the specific answers or possess the unique judgmental ability to distinguish a specific case that borders on either side of this. But I do know one thing – as with other such erstwhile adages, there cannot be a fire without the spark. There’s got to be a reason why humility was favored all along. To me, this is a non-negotiable aspect that I am not willing to change. For, in my view, humility is not black and white, as in you cannot practice it in certain areas like charity or social life and ignore it at work. Also, I believe it is ingrained in one’s upbringing and defines the level of self-confidence to a certain extent.
This is a controversial topic for sure, and I am sure there will be equal arguments to both sides of the story. Maybe I am prejudiced about pride after all!
Image Credit: Ben Sutherland
- How To Effectively Manage Teams?
- Level 5 Leadership-From Good to Great
- The Saving Grace
- Ruling The Rules
- Performance Appraisals- Do We Really Need Them?