How to Never Waste a Good Crisis

Leaders are developing a healthy case of humility during COVID-19. Frankly, it’s a good thing because lousy leadership is rooted in ego.

Success followed by admiration tests character.

An ancient Jewish proverb puts it this way, “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise.”

The beauty of disruption is the rediscovery of humility.

Disruption exposes the power of humility and the folly of arrogance.

Where are the cocky leaders? They can’t tout their accomplishments and spout easy answers today. If they’re smart, they’ve shut their arrogant mouths.

“Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.” Thomas Merton

Practice humility:

#1. Call someone and thank them for their service to others. (Not their service to you.)

#2. Stand in front of your team and complete one of these sentences:

  1. I used to think …. Now I’m learning…. (Avoid saying, “I’ve learned.” It’s too final.)
  2. I’m learning …. (If you aren’t learning you know you have a problem.)
  3. I was wrong….
  4. Mary taught me …. (Name someone on the team and explain something you’re learning from them.)

#3. Make a list of the shoulders you stand on.

Include the people who unintentionally helped you. A backstabber who taught you to persist when you felt underappreciated, for example.

#4. Make a list of things you suck at.

A painful reality check might get your feet back on the ground.

Humility uses weakness as motivation to partner with others, not as an excuse to reach lower.

#5. Take responsibility. Responsibility, during disruption, is humbling.

Arrogance propagates itself by resisting humility.

Someone tried to humble me, but ego pushed them away. The only person who can humble me is me.

“Never waste a good crisis.” Wolstenholme

What expressions of humility seem most relevant during disruption?

How might leaders develop humility without being arrogant about it?


How Humility will Make you the Greatest Person Ever (Berkley)

6 Ways Humility can Make you a Better Leader (FastCompany)

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