It’s a dog eat dog world… but that shouldn’t necessarily be
the case if you’re a leader. In fact, your capacity for humility may be a key
to driving your organization’s success. Practicing humility and the kind of
mindset that makes you more self-aware and centered can lead others to connect
with you more easily, more readily share their own thoughts and concerns, and
more willing to follow you into the future.
Marcel Schwantes recently explored this topic in Inc.
In his piece, Schwantes mentions Aaron Meyers, the president and COO of Hammer & Nails Grooming Shop for Guys and the five practices Meyers finds most helpful in maintaining an attitude of humility:
- Self-Reflection: If you’re not regularly reviewing your own thought and behavior, you may be missing an opportunity to both spot what’s going well (and what isn’t) but also enhancing your own self-awareness. Take a moment to think about what you have done over the last day, week and maybe even over the last few months. Think about what events occurred that you had control over. Write some notes at the end of each day about what happened and why. Fill your mind or journal with productive thoughts, ideas and motivations so that your self-reflection is rewarding and not just mentioning stagnant issues. Decide how you can use those reflections and ideas to get better.
- Adopt a “team-first” mindset. In order to be a leader with great humility, you must have a team-centered mindset. Company goals, objectives, successes or failures fall onto the shoulders of the team; not onto individuals. With the team in mind, open the floor often to feedback, criticism, compliments and overall communication; you’re in this together.
- Exercise vulnerability. Accept when you need another set of eyes on a document, or another person’s opinion, more ideas about an issue, or anything else you may encounter in your leadership role. The more you admit you don’t know all the answers, the more likely you will be to gather more responses. As well, this kind of honesty will inspire greater trust.
- Listen to learn. If you aren’t fully listening to someone when they are speaking to you, then you aren’t processing the information in a way that can enable you to make productive changes and learn from what’s being said. Listen and use the information you’re being told, to drive conversations and decisions.
- Make mistakes a positive. Nobody is perfect and mistakes are part of the process on the road to success. Everybody makes mistakes; but it’s important to recognize a mistake for what it is, learn from the mistake and allow value to be added.
Question: What are your own thoughts about humility in leadership? Do
you see it as a strength? Why or why not?