Are Less-Confident People More Likely to Be Successful?

Good news for folks who aren't alpha dogs with super high self esteem: Your lack of confidence might actually help you in the work place.

"There is no bigger cliché in business psychology than the idea that high self-confidence is key to career success," writes Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Professor of Business Psychology at University College London, in his blog for the Harvard Business Review. "It is time to debunk this myth. In fact, low self-confidence is more likely to make you successful."

This is contrary to just about everything any guidance counselor or career coach will tell you. The key, according to Chamorro-Premuzic, is "just-low-enough confidence" -- in other words, not so low that you wind up paralyzed with anxiety and doubt, but low enough that you're able to create realistic goals.

One reason less-confident people might have an advantage is that they're more inclined to listen to negative feedback. No one likes to hear bad things about themselves, of course, but in most organizations, even the best employee is likely to hear a bit of constructive criticism, even it's only once a year during a performance evaluation. Workers who aren't overflowing with self-regard are often better able to integrate this feedback and respond positively to it.

Being less-confident could be a useful trait for managers, as well as staff. Sixty percent of participants in a recent Gallup poll said they were deeply dissatisfied with their jobs. The reason? Narcissistic bosses.

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