Powerful Humility

Most recently I witnessed a leader who admitted that, “he did not know the answer and that he needed help in understanding what to do”. Wow, this is uncharacteristic of bold leaders isn’t it? After all, these are the shape shifting, curve-bending visionaries who propel their organization with the mere cult of personality! On second thought, this is refreshing; how humble for someone who is looked to for supportive and thoughtful answers to admit that they don’t have the answers. There is a Nilotic proverb that advises, “there is more wisdom in listening than speaking”. It is often healthy for a leader to afford some margin to listen in order to engage the whole body of the organization in solving problems. This is more than quiet reflective leadership; its developing people.
Why don’t we practice more humility in the workplace or at home? Consider these helpful thoughts on this topic as presented by Bruna Martinuzzi, a speaker author and educator from her book, The Leader as a Mensch: Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow.
1. There are times when swallowing one’s pride is particularly difficult and any intentions of humility fly out the window, as we get engaged in a contest of perfection, each side seeking to look good. If you find yourself in such no-win situations, consider developing some strategies to ensure that the circumstances don’t lead you to lose your grace. Try this sometimes: just stop talking and allow the other person to be in the limelight. There is something very liberating in this strategy.
2. Here are three magical words that will produce more peace of mind than a week at an expensive retreat: “You are right.”
3. Catch yourself if you benignly slip into over preaching or coaching without permission – is zeal to impose your point of view overtaking discretion? Is your correction of others reflective of your own needs?
4. Seek others’ input on how you are showing up in your leadership path. Ask: “How am I doing?” It takes humility to ask such a question. And even more humility to consider the answer.
5. Encourage the practice of humility in your company through your own example: every time you share credit for successes with others, you reinforce the ethos for your constituents. Consider mentoring or coaching emerging leaders on this key attribute of leadership.
People are our most valuable investment. We cannot win without our team. When we can practice powerful humility we bring emotional investments that bolster us when the proverbial chips are down. How is your humility?

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About sherrellcrow

Christian Coach, Thinker, Catalyst and Creative Consort
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2 Responses to Powerful Humility

  1. Love this post Sherrell. I blog on personal development, but I’ve never thought about how important humility is in developing yourself. Really opened my eyes with this post, thank you for that!

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