Throughout these Purposed worKING blogs we have spent a fair amount of time on humility and the importance of demonstrating it in the work place. Why so much time on this topic? It is for two reasons; first, the Bible is full of rich examples of the need and direction for humility, secondly, and more pertinent, is that the work place demands just the opposite and so practicing humility becomes a real chore and challenge. Work is set up for us to achieve and be recognized for what we do. When Adam Smith broke down work into tasks and individual contributions humility slipped right off the conveyor belt. How do you get to the top or the next job or promotion if you don’t be sure that someone knows what you are doing and that you are singled out and recognized for your contributions? That’s just the way work works. So are we really to be humble at work? Yes, we are. Paul says it in Colossians 3:12: “Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility…” Humility can come in many forms. I don’t think we are meant to walk around with our heads down and stand in the back of the crowd and not to step forward when our name is called to be recognized. But, we are to be cognizant that nothing we do, in work or in our lives, is a solo effort. Even the greatest athletes who perform in a singular sport are quick to recognize the coach or training partner who got them to their peak performance. Anyone who stands in front of others and doesn’t have the humility to recognize those who helped them get to where they are has no sense of humility. Each and every day at work we have the moment where we can bask in the solo recognition or we can add on to the email back that it was a team effort and really we should be recognizing Joe or Jane for the work they did on the project. Great leaders, as defined by those we want to work for or with, know how to do this. They may be confident and assured in their positions and work but they know how to be humble in their recognition and acknowledgements. We can all be more humble. It’s not easy to be so, that is why we read so many lessons about learning to be so in the Bible. It is why Paul tells us that we “must” clothe ourselves with humility. We, as those who want to bring purpose to our work and be examples to others, are required to suit up with humility each and every day.
Reference: Colossians 3:12 (New Living Testament)