The definition of humility – The ability and willingness to be taught. If you look in the dictionary I don’t believe you will find this, but for the hiring manager this is one to memorize.
Able, what do I mean by this? I’m afraid that this group or able learners is smaller than we might think. There are candidates that are unable to learn because emotionally and spiritually they are too proud or immature. Learning, pride and immaturity don’t play well together. If I’m sure of myself, then many times I’m sure I don’t need your input. We have all been in those situations where we are trying to help or guide someone only to be met with opposition and after a few attempts at helping we give up. That scenario is devastating in the workplace! We can not afford to have employees who are not open to change and instruction.
Willingness – You will find that those who are humble have a ‘Teachable Spirit”. You can approach them easily, you don’t have to measure every single word in an effort to avoid offending them or ‘setting them off’. Many times these candidates are the ones who are asking for input and instruction. Though they may not hear what they wanted to hear they know that constructive criticism is for their own good, so they hear it, absorb it and process it. Now we are really making progress!
I had a young woman that worked for me, she was a star athlete and excellent salesperson. When we would work together I would often sit down at lunch and review the morning. As I would begin to share all of the things she did well I would hear “Yeah, Yeah but what can I do better?” Here was a person, completely engaged in the growing process. This is the heart of a champion.
What is your responsibility as a manager? You must first create an environment where you can be trusted. Once you have earned their trust then they will be more likely to open up and be vulnerable. A humble employee and a trusted, competent manager are a powerful combination.