Staying humble and maintaining an underdog attitude can help leaders and their employees remain focused on achieving even more success.


The sub-title to Jan Bednar's article Why Steve Jobs and Other Leaders Maintained An Underdog Attitude After Start-Up Success is 'Keep a talented team humble and ready to tackle the next challenge'. By humble, Bednar doesn't mean employees shouldn't be praised or prevented from celebrating success—quite the opposite. Bednar says he regularly celebrates his business successes with his employees. What Bednar means is that the right culture is critically important for a leader to construct a team that can 'go the 'distance'. Bednar cited a 2019 study that found 56 percent of employees valued workplace culture more than salary. He said having an underdog mentality made 'the excitement of the chase more significant (and)…the eventual victory feel that much better'. In his article, Bednar recommends three strategies:

  1. Offer employees a stake in the company.
  2. Don't shy away from details.
  3. Give people their flowers.