A Simple Strategy for Developing Humble Teams

Rigorous humility begins with ruthless honesty.

You might not know if you’re humble, but you can certainly know if you’re practicing humility.

Leaders practice humility in community, not isolation. From a leadership point of view, humility only matters if others are involved.

Humble team exercise:

Invite everyone on your team to come to the next meeting with a simple statement and an open question.

Statement: “I’d like to get better at ….” (Complete the sentence with a leadership behavior, skill, or quality.)

Question: “What suggestions do you have for me?”

Guidelines:

  1. Say, “Thanks for saying that,” after you hear a word of advice.
  2. Don’t make any excuses.
  3. You aren’t obligated to follow any advice.
  4. If you choose to try something, let your team know.
  5. Create accountability. “You can ask me about ….” (Complete the sentence with the behavior you plan to practice.)

The challenge of humility is deliberate practice, not casual intention.

I did this exercise with three men last Saturday. I felt a battle within. Was I going to be humble and fill in the blank with something meaningful, or play it safe?

I chose to practice humility. “I’d like to be better at giving direction.” I’m great at asking questions and lousy at giving direction.

Drive:

Humble leaders have drive for improvement.

There’s lots of talk about self-development, but when you dig below the surface, it’s often talk without action. The above exercise is an opportunity to take action.

Humble leaders intentionally develop their leadership. That means they know what they’re working on.

If you don’t know what your working to develop, you aren’t working on your leadership.

The drive of humility is growth.

The closed heart of arrogant leaders blocks growth.

Arrogant leaders love to develop OTHERS. Humble leaders work to develop themselves.

Tip: You go first in the above exercise.

How might you use the team exercise in this post?

What “humble practices” might help teams develop humility?