“I’ll be happy to review the document, but what I’m really going to do is read it to learn some new ideas from everyone else. There are some great things in there!”
We had just finished reviewing draft outcomes with several top performers in a key role of a large global company. Each of the top performers included in the review session had significantly contributed to our understanding of what defined role excellence. But the standout among the top performers was, in fact, the person quoted above.
A common perspective shared by top performers is humility. That humility shows up in several ways. First, these top performers think what they do is nothing special. They have usually figured out a particularly unique and powerful mental model of how to achieve role excellence, but they think everyone else has probably already figured out the same thing. Their mental model is so obvious to them, they think it must be obvious to others.
Second, they strive to always learn from others. Just like the top performer quoted, they believe they always have more to learn, more room to improve. So they listen, they learn, and they constantly improve. Thus the top performers become even better. Their humility is clearly a significant part of their excellence.
Question to ponder:
- How do you recognize and reward your top performers’ humility?