How to Lead with Humility

Pride makes leadership difficult

In Summary

•Pride makes effective leadership difficult, and in the process, a lot can go wrong

•Humility means that leaders create an effective system for feedback from those they lead

History proves that power can corrupt leaders. It is easy for leaders to have inflated egos, and think that everyone is beneath them. The negative effects of power can make a leader ineffective, and cause more harm than good. This is one reason humility is a leadership requirement; without it, a leader can easily miss the mark.

Humility is absence of pride or arrogance. Pride makes effective leadership difficult, and in the process, a lot can go wrong. So, how do you lead with humility? Here are four practical ways to do it.

Ask Questions: Dear CEO, you don’t know it all. It is an important reality to embrace as a leader; it begins to help put things in proper perspective. You do not have all the answers, and therefore, need the help of others to succeed in leadership. Asking questions, and genuinely seeking answers is a sign of humility. It makes the people around you feel valued in the process of achieving your vision.

Use Your Weaknesses: We all have strengths and weaknesses – there is nothing wrong with having weaknesses. Your weaknesses can become advantages in leadership. Weakness means that you need another person’s strength. As a leader, you can take advantage of your weakness by enlisting people stronger in that area to help you. Your weakness does not make you a bad leader, it makes you human, and like everyone, you need help. Accepting your humanity and seeking help for your weakness is humility. 

Learn to Listen: In leadership, you see people by listening to them. Often, people feel unseen and neglected when their leaders do not listen to them. Listening is easier said than done, but you can learn. We live in a hyper-distractive world in which listening can be difficult. However, if you understand the value of truly listening to your people, you will be motivated to cultivate this skill. Listening makes leadership easier and increases a leader’s chances of success. Generally, leaders who don’t listen to people find leading difficult.

Encourage Feedback: There is a problem if your team cannot freely give you feedback on your leadership. As a leader, you won’t get it right all the time – you will make mistakes. Often, the position blinds leaders to their mistakes or shortcomings. Therefore, feedback is vital to help a leader identify areas that require improvement. Humility means that leaders create an effective system to receive feedback from those whom they lead. Feedback is not an attack; it’s a favour.

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