Why do so many leaders find it difficult to be humble? Leadership is often about power, which is inherent in the roles leaders assume. People tend to cater to leaders whether they are effective or not, out of fear of disappointing them or doing anything that might result in negative career and/or life repercussions. As a result, egos are often fed at the expense of the people being managed or led. Many leaders go unchecked and are unaware of their impact on others. If leaders clearly understood the importance of humility and the role that it plays in increasing engagement and building relationships with their people, they just might work to change their behavior.
Being human and transparent can actually increase the influence and effectiveness of leaders rather than detract from it. Team members and colleagues gain an understanding that although the leader is in charge, the person is human and still growing. In addition to being transparent, asking for feedback and creating an environment where people are willing to be honest is important. It allows the person in charge to build trust with those that he or she serves. The barriers come down and relationships are built. This does not happen without humility.
Humility begins with having the attitude of a servant. “Serving others above yourself” is easier said than done. Nevertheless, it is critically important. It does not mean that you are a “pushover” or doormat. It means that you are human and that you value people. It also means that you are open to input from others. You are in it to benefit all concerned. Leading and relating in this manner can positively impact businesses, communities and families. Influence is increased; productivity and results improve. Everyone involved wins, not just the leader.
Make a commitment today to consider what being humble means for you. Assess your leadership style, and if you are not already doing it, ask for feedback from those you love, lead, and serve. You may already be considered a humble, servant leader. If you find that you are not, do not lose heart. Life is a journey, and continuous growth and improvement are part of the journey. Growth often starts with humility and understanding the need for growth and change. We should all add a dose of humility to our roles as leaders. Be humble.