Be It Ever So Humble…The Importance of Humility in Leadership…..
In our mind’s eye, when we think of leadership, we picture a strong, charismatic leader, who is perhaps larger than life, exuding confidence….brash, bold…and yes…..into that picture creeps in arrogance….but perhaps we should consider a different word….one that doesn’t typically define leaders of strength…..humility.
It’s true; the last word that may cross our minds is “humility” in the leaders we think we know. I’ve been blessed to have crossed path and mentored by great leaders who have been able to stay self confident without crossing the line into arrogance by remaining humble. It’s an attribute that many struggle to maintain when they achieve great success, but if mastered can be one of the most important character traits a leader can possess. If yielded wisely, its power can move mountains…
The attribute of humility allows leaders to invite and cultivate the talents their employees bring to the table. For example: When a leader is humble, they invite participation by others. When a leader is humble, they are open to new experiences and knowledge. When a leader is humble, they possess empathy and compassion for others.
The other edge of the sword….arrogance, brings with it behavior that isn`t all-encompassing, diverse of ideas, creative, or enlightening. Arrogance can be destructive….perhaps you have known some of the warning signs in yourself as a leader or a leader you know….
- Inability to show compassion: Unable to identify with others and their plight. Leaders who are humble are able to know what is like to be on the other side of the table in terms of their employees or clients. They know the challenges these individuals face and can understand how to engage them on their level.
- “I” before Team: Choosing “I” instead of “Us” statements. Leaders who are humble know it takes a team effort to complete a vision and mission. A real leader will showcase and give all credit to their teams. They want nothing more than to allow others to shine for their gifts.
- Never seeking knowledge, speaking more than listening: A leader who feels they have more to say than to listen to others. A leader who is humble is hungry for knowledge. They are always seeking opportunities to learn, gain insight and listening to others input.
- Pointing the fickle finger of fate at others: Judging others and comparing them to you, is not being humble. It’s important to acknowledge the gifts and talents of others and to keep striving to improve your own vision and never look to others for judgment.
Humility in a leader is best described as having the self-confidence which is crafted from experience that allows you to be self assured in your own leadership ability, to lead with boldness, compassion and confidence without the over the top ego.
Like so many difficult tasks in life, there is no magic pill or switch that can be flicked to allow a leader to change their style and employ humility. You learn by doing and YOU choose your own style. Humility is can be obtained by simply becoming self aware of one’s own choices and learning to choose wisely. Are you ready to be humble?