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Submitted by williamelledgepe on


As a manager/leader, what is the appropriate use of self deprecation?
When is it effective? What is its purpose? Is it an effective way to keep expectations in check? To show humility? To create humor or lighten the mood?
Should it be used equally with skips, directs, peers, and bosses? Those you've known for a long time or recent acquaintances?
Can it be used equally in meetings, hallway conversations, and formal presentations?

Kevin1's picture

Hi William, 

I don't have the definitive answer by any means.  My suggestion is to use it when there is otherwise going to be tension due to conflict of opinions.

  • 'What I have observed is XXXXX, but I may have missed something'
  • 'Far wiser people than me have suggested YYYYY'.
  • 'These are the ground rules, and I want you all to pick me up on them too because I'm probably more likely to ramble on ignoring the time limits than anyone'

It is worth using with directs, peers or superiors.  Just the situations may vary.

The more you use it, the more people will find you easy to get on with.  Of course, you don't use it when it is necessary to be directive, say when talking about safety or giving feedback.

Other than that, use it frequently if you can.

Kind regards