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    The Pride of Humility

    Recently, Harvard Business Review posted an article entitled "Why Less Confident People Are More Successful."  Other than being a terrible title...I had some issues with what the article claimed.  Confidence is not a negative trait.  Example: A surgeon...working on your heart:

    less confidence = makes a mistake
    too much confidence = makes a mistake
    just enough confidence = performs well

    Yes, this is strikingly similar to Goldie Locks & the 3 bears...but it's true!  Confidence itself is not's over-confidence or misplaced confidence that is very problematic.  What the author should have stated was that the attribute of humility is critical to success.  But that's not new...Jim Collins' "Level 5 Leader" is bathed in humility.  The fact is, it's critical for leaders to demonstrate humility by listening, engaging and being committed to life-long learning in order for them to achieve and maintain professional (and personal) success.

    One of the issues I see with those that pump humility to extreme ends is the foundational pride that exists within the fabric of the conversation itself.  Many times, what is really being said is, "Be more me!" Unfortunately, humility on its own isn't do anything, but rather it's putting on humility as an attitude and characteristic while doing what you hope to accomplish.  In the case of the above named article, it's relating to employees and leading an organization.  Under the "it's all about humility" mindset...why get someone with skills, aptitude and drive...let's just find the most humble person we can...and put him as President of the United States...or CEO of General Motors...?

    Not a great idea.

    Humility does not mean you think less of yourself. it means you think of yourself less
    - Ken Blanchard

    When set to the right context, and applied with care, confidence is crucial to success.  I can't think of one person I know in any industry that has attained success at any significant level that did not maintain some form of confidence and self-assurance.  Goal-setting and delivering value are the fuel that fires confident and successful leaders, and if harnessed properly, an organization and thrive under their leadership.  Ambition and drive set to the right beat make music...but when out of sync create pure chaos.


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      - Blog of Matthew MacDonald - The Pride of Humility

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