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7 Ways to Teach Humility in Team Meetings

You can be right in many ways and dead wrong in others. I asked a world-renowned leadership expert what humility had to do with success. He said, “Nothing.”

Teach humility if results matter.*

Define humility:

Always think of humility in terms of behaviors, not theories.

Humility is a set of behaviors that express interest in the interest of others.

Humble leaders stand up for values even when it’s uncomfortable.

Model humility to teach humility:

#1. Practice vulnerability in public.

Let people see your warts. Don’t whine. Apologize when you screw up. Say, “I’m learning.” Arrogance knows. Humility learns.

#2. Never brag.

“… the more they underrated themselves, the more highly they were perceived as leaders. We assume this is caused by a combination of humility, high personal standards, and a continual striving to be better.” Zenger/Folkman

#3. Ask for help.

Mention a leadership behavior you’re working on and say, “I need your help developing this.”

#4. Include others early, often, and frequently.

“What do you think?” is a compliment when asked sincerely.

7 ways to teach humility in team meetings:

  1. Use stories. Ask team members to name a humble leader/person they know. “What caused you to label them humble? How could you be like that person today?” Use ‘you’, not we. Be sure to say, “Today.”
  2. Value service. Regularly ask, “Who are you serving today? How?”
  3. Discuss each other’s strengths AND weaknesses.
  4. Discuss what each team member has learned from mistakes. “How have mistakes changed you?”
  5. Ask, “What are some humble responses to disagreement, challenge, or confrontation we could practice today?”
  6. Ask people to explain something they’re learning.
  7. Give reports on the lives of employees. Tell us about the family of one of your employees. What’s important to each person who reports to you?

Tip: Say hard things with humanity.

What would you do if you planned to teach humility in team meetings?

* Do Humble CEOs Matter?

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