INSTANT MBA: Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously

Craig Newmark

Photo: Stephanie Canciello, unali artists

Today’s advice comes from Craig Newmark, Founder of Craigslist, via his post on LinkedIn:“I’m a nerd, seriously hard-core, and sometimes that translates into being a know-it-all. People got tired of that while I worked at an IBM branch office in Detroit in the eighties. My boss told me that it had become a real problem with about half my co-workers … However, he said that my saving grace was my sense of humour.”

Newmark says that it’s important to show your colleagues that you’re smart, but too much confidence can sometimes get in your way. Whenever you share something with your coworkers that may sound bossy or overbearing, he says the best thing to do is to just laugh it off. You don’t always have to prove to others that you’re right, so lighten up. Knowing that there is a more comical side to you and that you are willing to poke fun at yourself, invites others to become more open to you.

“[My boss’] advice was to focus on my sense of humour and worry less about being exactly right. For sure, don’t correct people when it matters little. It took a while to get noticed, but it did get noticed, and some tension got less tense. That felt pretty good…This has had persistent effects, in that I get a lot more done when I take myself less seriously. It’s particularly useful in public speaking.”

Want your business advice featured in Instant MBA? Submit your tips to [email protected]. Be sure to include your name, your job title, and a photo of yourself in your email.

NOW WATCH: Ideas videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.