What is modesty

Modesty: Being humble as a soft skill ?!

No false modesty in the job !?

"Modesty is an ornament, but you can go further without it." What is the truth of the saying, which is often mistakenly attributed to Wilhelm Busch? And what about being humble in professional life?

Modesty can denote a type or trait of a person or only a certain behavior. Synonyms for modesty are frugality, undemanding, simplicity, humility - so says Wikipedia.

The wrong and the real modesty

Modesty is an ornament. Humble people take a back seat, do without, are satisfied with what they have, and do not strive for more. Humility is a virtue. In the last century countless girls got the saying in their poetry album: "Be like the violet in the moss, modest, decent and pure, and not like the proud rose that always wants to be admired." the Catholic Church is preached.

However, it will be less positive false modestyseen. This can show up when people do not have enough self-confidence and self-esteem (see increasing self-esteem). Then they downplay their achievements, eager to get compliments. fishing for compliments), tend to be submissive.

Really modest people, on the other hand, are characterized by a high level of self-confidence. An American researcher studied US companies that were successful above average over a longer period of time. All of them had a certain type of boss at the top:

“On the one hand, they appeared extremely modest, and on the other hand, they were very focused on pursuing the goals of their company. There was no personal narcissism, nothing that hindered the pure implementation of your program. "(Berliner-zeitung.de)

Modesty is the highest form of arrogance

But real modesty is also contradicting itself when people carry their modesty in front of them like on a tray, repeatedly emphasizing how modest they are, criticizing others because of their demands. An unknown author has the quote for such behavior "Modesty is the highest form of arrogance" embossed. In this case, the allegedly so deep modesty is only a synonym for arrogance and narcissism and thus the opposite of modesty.

Being modest is not a "soft skill"

Modest and frugal people are generally seen as personable, considerate and generally very easy to get along with. Quite the opposite of the pomposity who proudly and arrogantly brag about their deeds. As I said, it's about them realand not about that fake, feigned modestybecause the basis of humility is respect and kindness towards others. These are actually good qualities for a successful professional life.

Nevertheless, modesty is not an independent component of “soft skills”. In English, this means the personal, social and methodological skills of a working person. In contrast to the “hard skills”, the technical competencies, they are more difficult to check in job interviews. However, it is becoming more and more important for companies to hire employees who not only have technical knowledge, but who are also characterized by self-confidence, commitment, resilience, the ability to work in a team, empathy, resistance to stress and analytical skills, to name just a few soft skills.

Work hard and be or stay humble (© bernardojbp / Fotolia)

As I said: Being humble is seldom explicitly mentioned, when soft skills are listed (see also our soft skills list). Nevertheless, the Bonn work and business psychologist Prof. Dr. Gerhard Blickle says: "Humility goes down well with superiors." It is based on a study in which 340 college and university graduates were surveyed several times five years after starting their careers. Those young professionals who appeared more modest were able to better establish contacts with mentors and superiors, rely on their support and thus lay the foundations for their careers. Professor Blickle advises: "Let your services speak for you."(uni-bonn.de/neues/127-2009)

Humility can get in the way of success

But that is not enough for other professional experts. They believe that performance alone cannot speak for itself. who tomodest occurs, is often overtaken by more researching colleagues. A study by the US American Brown University showed that show-offers are considered less moral by their fellow men, but also more competent (karrierebibel.de/eigenlob-falsche-bescheidenheit/).

In a survey by the Federal Association of German Management Consultants, 28 percent even considered false modesty to be one of the top 10 career killers (focus.de). Employees often complain that their work is not appreciated, that they are ignored for promotions and salary increases. While the cheeky colleague is profusely praised for a project by the manager, only meager words remain for the more modest colleague, who has done most of the work. The quiet, humble secretary is constantly sitting in the office working overtime while everyone else has long been home. Those who put up with all of this will lose out in professional life.

Be humble: How little you really need to live a happy life | "The Art of Modesty" by Michael Korth (Amazon)

Against false modesty - book "Eigenlob geht vote" by Sabine Asgodom (Amazon)

Not to Be Humble - Ways To Do Good Self Marketing

The proverb "Self-praise stinks" does not apply unreservedly in the job. Employees have nothing of deep modesty. You need to learn to sell yourself, but don't shamelessly overdo it. So it depends on the middle ground. Healthy self-marketing means making the characteristics and abilities of yourself visible. The Hamburg career advisor Ragnhild Struss says: "Those who only stay modestly in the background are quickly considered to be under-committed." (stellenmarkt.faz.net/karriere-lounge/) Proven ways for good self-marketing: Submit interim reports to the boss regularly and report on progress. Bringing fresh ideas to meetings and especially brainstorming sessions and passing on your own knowledge to colleagues or helping them. So: a littleRattling is part of the craft.

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Keywords: virtues