The Path to Meaningful Contribution Begins Here
Arrogance stabs itself in the chest in order to get what it wants. But strangely, the beauty of humility terrifies.
Arrogance serves self-destructive goals.
Humility pursues meaningful contribution.
- Serves itself.
- Stands aloof.
- Takes offense.
- Tears down.
- Destroys itself.
The veneer of self-importance empties meaning from leading.
Genuine humility enables meaningful contribution.
Humility during one-on-ones:
Evaluate people through the lens of their talent, not your achievements.
When you talk about yourself to employees, brag about the people who contributed to your development. “Mary helped me develop healthy drive by …,” for example.
Humility while leading meetings:
A blabbermouth at the head of the table devalues the talent around the table.
Humility creates space for others to talk. The battle for powerful people to listen more and talk less is seldom won.
Enable lively conversation:
- Assign discussion topics to team members before the meeting. “Bob, will you please come prepared to start the conversation about improving our one-on-ones?”
- Expect and honor constructive dissent instead of comfortable consensus.
- Ask, “If you had to choose today, what would you do? Why?”
- Seek multiple options before making decisions. “And what else?”
Humility while giving direction:
Bark commands when the house is on fire. Beyond that, say please.
The word ‘please’ gets caught in my throat. I’m comfortable with thank you. But the only time I use please is when I force myself.
- Would you please?
- Could you please?
Arrogance tells. Humility asks.
Humility and talent:
Everyone has talent. Some things come naturally to everyone. You might love detailing car wheels after washing your car. Another might relish turning over rocks to find bugs.
Talent produces humility because you were born with it – like everyone else.
Sing with gratitude if you’ve found a place where your talent makes meaningful contribution.
How might leaders help others make meaningful contribution?