by | Jun 29, 2022 | Change, Leadership Development | 0 comments

Humility: How much does it feature in your leadership practice?

If I was to ask you what you thought the key leadership strengths are for our current and post-pandemic world are, I don’t suppose humility would feature very highly. If I was to say that it was a key strength, and is one that can be learned, I am sure most of you reading would smile indulgently. 

If you google the top three leadership strengths you will quickly find strengths such as self-awareness, situational-awareness, and excellent communication skills. These are closely followed by strengths such as being able to work collaboratively with a diverse team, empathy, and the ability to make agile and courageous decisions. Nestled humbly and unseen across these is the strength of humility. 

So, what is humility?

Broadly speaking, humility is being down to earth. It is the opposite of being arrogant, conceited, or self-centred, all of which I hope you will agree have no place in the leaders of today. Leaders who have humility neither think too much, nor too little of themselves. That is they are self-aware and comfortable in themselves. Humility itself can be divided into Expressed Humility (EH) and Intellectual Humility (IH).

Expressed Humility (EH) is a willingness to see oneself accurately (self-awareness), to acknowledge and appreciate contributions of others, along with openness to learning from other team members. Intellectual Humility (IH) is the understanding of where the limits of your knowledge lies, when it is time to seek information from others who may have a different perspective or knowledge base, and crucially a willingness to revise views based on this new evidence and information given.  

I am sure you can see now how humility can feed into improved situational awareness, as a leader asks others for their views, into improved collaboration as team members feel valued as they are listened to, perceived empathy, improved communications as trust is built between leader and team and the improved gathering of information required to make those courageous and agile decisions that a leader needs to make. 

Humility has also been linked to servant leadership, with its attendant qualities of active listening, empathy, a commitment to the development of team members and stronger relationships leading to increased trust and loyalty. Servant leadership contributes to overall leader effectiveness and humility is the driving force. Being comfortable with who you are, both of your strengths and your limitations, means you do not feel threatened by the growth of those below you. Openness to ideas and different viewpoints will give those team members increased psychological safety and the interest and trust you show in your team will improve engagement, loyalty and overall team satisfaction and performance.

So, how much does humility feature in your leadership practice?  

If you would like to explore your self awareness and work on becoming more of a Leader – Learner than the Leader – Knower that you currently are, contact me for an exploratory conversation.

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