Who do you think about the most, yourself or others?
Throughout my career I have worked with lots of people in the UK from the rail industry and the automotive industry. In my experience a lot of those people I have worked with are very hard working, will go the extra mile and will dedicate themselves to the cause.
1. Learning Good Traits Early
Mostly our cause was to get the job done on time and to the best of our ability. The reason for that is because we knew how to get things done, we knew how to do a job well and we would not give up until that job is done.
That’s what I love about the people I have worked alongside, and being around those people has distilled these ethics into me.
I have learned so much from the people I have worked with, and I’d like to think that they have learned from me too. Looking out for each other and helping each other are some of the best traits a person can have. There are lot of other people from all over the world who would do well to develop those traits.
Another excellent trait a person can have is taking pride in what they do. For me, when I started as an apprentice engineer in 1999, I was part of the team that built the assembly lines for car companies so that they could form their car engines.
I took extreme pride in doing that job because I knew that what I was doing was helping people from all over the world, not only to help build cars, but to make their customers happy. With that frame of mind, I always wanted to know the next stages of the process when we were finished, and how we could make our processes better.
The thirst for knowledge and improvement has been with me for my whole life. Continuous improvement is a phrase that is overused in most industries throughout the world, but it is one of the most important.
I’ve always been a person who wondered about things. Why does that do that? Why do we work a certain way? How can we make things better? How can we be more productive? How can we be more efficient?
By thinking like this and never being satisfied by how things work is how we as people stay fresh. By being fresh, we need to have a learner’s mindset. We should always be learning, and never be satisfied.
2. Don’t Be Afraid Of The “Stupid Question”
When I was a child, I used to drive my parents crazy because I always wanted to know why things happened. I was a very curious kid, and would not sit still until my questions of why and how were answered.
That way of thinking then followed me to my adult life, even now I have never been afraid to ask the “stupid question”. A lot of people think that asking questions is a sign of weakness, but it isn’t. It is a sign of strength.
Don’t ever be afraid to ask the “stupid question”, because the chances are that somebody else wanted to ask the same question but they were too afraid to. There is no such thing as a “stupid question”.
When asking a lot of questions to learn new things and acquire better and more knowledge, it is amazing to hear the answers to your questions. Not because they are right, wrong, great or silly, it is because of the reaction of the person.
Do they answer you with humility and understanding or do they answer you aggressively? I’m pretty sure we have all had both reactions from people. What we can learn from these reactions is the person’s character, and if they want to help us or not.
3. “Who” Do You Work With?
When working in a team in our area of work, whether on a factory floor, on a building site or in an office, I have found that there are three types of people that we work with:
- People who want to share their knowledge and are more than happy to teach you what they know. I had a mentor for years and his primary focus was me and helping me to grow. He didn’t care how much of his knowledge he shared.
- People who want to share their knowledge because it makes them feel superior to you. They think they are the special one in the team and nobody else knows as much as them. So, they like to show off and let you think that they are smarter than you.
- People who are insecure and don’t want others to know what they know because it will threaten their position. An engineer I worked with once said to me that if he tells people what he knows, the company might fire him.
When a person’s main goal of sharing their knowledge is to help you learn and grow, then that shows a huge amount of confidence from them. However, more importantly it shows that they have humility.
4. How To Show Humility
Having humility shows that you are willing to put others first, and help them to work towards the team’s purpose. Having humility is a strength for a highly effective leader and putting the needs of others before their own can only make the team stronger.
A highly effective leader with humility wants the best for their team. A highly effective leader with humility brings out the best for their team. A highly effective leader with humility focuses on the purpose and cause, and how each one of us can make a difference.
When a person’s main goal of sharing their knowledge is to appear smarter than you, then that shows that they are very arrogant. However, again more importantly it shows that they do not have humility.
I am pretty sure you know and have worked with the three people I have described above. The difference between number 1 and number 2 is humility. A confident person without humility is just arrogant.
What kind of person would you describe yourself as, confident or arrogant? Who would you rather work with? Who would you rather learn from? Which type of person do you think you could influence the most? Which type of person do you think could be the best leader within your team?
Sharing knowledge is a quality of a highly effective leader. So, if you want to be a leader within your team and have people follow you because they want to, then it is essential that you are willing to share your knowledge with them.
However, when thinking about your future, and what you want to create, you have to make a decision. Do you want to be known as an arrogant person or a confident person? This decision can only be made by you, so make sure that you make the right one.
As we have already discussed, if you want to influence your team mates then they have to trust you. Are they more likely to trust an arrogant person or a confident person? If you come across as arrogant to your team, you are putting yourself before the team. If you come across as confident to your team, you are putting them before you.
A person who has an arrogant attitude will lose trust with their team. A person with a confident attitude will build trust and increase their influence with their team.
When discussing earlier about always asking questions, even if they are “stupid questions”, it is a sign of strength but also a sign of confidence. By admitting that you don’t know something will build trust with others and they will be more likely to help you and share their knowledge.
People who pretend they know something and don’t want to come across as “stupid” by asking questions, is a sign of arrogance. This creates distrust with others and will be less likely to help you because they have been misled and lied to.
Being humble is a strength, but knowing and admitting that you have weaknesses is also a strength. A leader who has humility, who also acknowledges their weaknesses is a highly effective leader.
I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.
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All the best,