How Humble Leadership Really Works

Humility isn’t:

  1. Slow and stupid.
  2. Afraid to acknowledge strengths and talents.
  3. Passive and weak.
  4. Easily manipulated.
  5. Satisfied with mediocrity.
  6. Disinclined to bring up tough issues.
  7. Reluctant to act.
Ant carrying something big.

The strength of humility is the ability to serve something bigger than self.

3 strengths of humility:

#1. The strength of humility is the ability to serve something bigger than self. Hubris always serves itself even when it appears to serve others.

#2. The strength of humility is honesty. Arrogance lies and misleads to protect image, status, and position.

Humble leaders look you in the eye and speak the truth with kindness.

Self-protection is self-serving.

#3. The strength of humility is openness to learning. Arrogance knows. Humility learns.

Humility benefits from mistakes and failure – arrogance suffers.

4 things to be humble about:

  1. Accomplishments. You didn’t get here on your own. You aren’t self-made.
  2. Lessons learned. You’ve learned the most from failure.
  3. Talent. Gratitude is the only legitimate response to talent.
  4. Knowledge. There’s always more to learn. There’s always someone who knows something you don’t.

Humility and obsession:

Arrogance obsesses over itself.

Obsess over the concerns of others. Walk around like an undercover agent continually scanning the environment. Look outward.

Humility understands and respects the interests and concerns of others.

Resolve to respond to the concerns and interests of others.

Reject the position of savior on a white horse. Avoid defensiveness. Simply respond with the concerns of others in mind.

“Often company leaders fail to engage their people because they fail to understand what drives the people they lead.” Claudio Feser

Humility and entitlement:

Do people owe you or do you owe people? In other words, do you feel entitled?

Arrogance feels entitled. Humility feels responsible to serve. Are you indebted to others or are others indebted to you?

One of leadership’s great questions is, “What do you owe others?”

What are some misconceptions about humility?

What are some strengths of humility?

Bonus material:

Humble Leadership (Edgar and Peter Schein)

Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Resolve (HBR)