Four Steps to Remain a Humble Leader


Being a humble leader is a core principle of change leadership. A humble leader understands and utilizes their strengths and embraces the talents and abilities of those around them.

An expanded vision and innovative ideas flow naturally from a team led by a humble leader because they understand the power of harnessing the inner power others possess. However, the humble leader is a subtle beast because as success comes to the company, it’s easy and highly tempting to take credit for the increased sales, new products, or record numbers.

Yet, humility must be maintained if it is the quiet, out-of-sight force influencing success. Here are four steps for any leader to preserve their humble leadership qualities.

1. Welcome Additional Opinions

Leaders looking to navigate the highly competitive and quickly moving business world will never think they have all the answers. Leaders who seek out a different opinion understand this leadership principle. They don’t ask because they’re wavering or unsure about their research and idea, but it’s because it’s right to consider another opinion. They might get two or three different views.

Bringing more opinions and voices to the table sets a precedent to the team that the one in charge isn’t all-knowing or infallible. Collaboration doesn’t threaten the boss’s ego. On the contrary, it’s welcomed and has the potential to round out ideas and projects.

2. Do the Unwanted Tasks

Many business leaders assign tasks to others they aren’t comfortable doing themselves, but a humble leader remains humble by doing the uncomfortable tasks no one else wants to do. Assigning unpopular tasks can feel like a micro-aggression and a power play to those with less power. When the leader does the job everyone else dislikes, it not only endears the boss to the people, but it also sets an example of willingness to grow, learn, and tackle new challenges.

A team that sees the boss doing the work will also implement the “buck stops here” mentality and become a productive, responsible team, not pushing tasks down the chain of command. Leaders tackle challenging tasks instead of avoiding them, which will produce incredible growth for the team.

3. Compassionate Interactions

A humble leader remains humble by recognizing their humanness and that of their employees. There is no way of knowing what people are going through unless asked. Making assumptions about people and their situations doesn’t help build a strong team.

Instead, a humble leader treats employees with compassion and empathy, putting people and relationships before the task and bottom line. Each person adds a significant positive contributing factor to a team. Still, it’s the humble leader that embraces and acknowledges both the positive and the challenging traits of each team member.

4. Sees Failure as a Building Block

Failure is a part of life, and there’s no way to avoid it. Even the best-laid plans will fail. However, a great leader, who remains humble, understands that failure is a part of great success. Failure is forgivable and usually an excellent opportunity to learn, grow, and improve. Any remarkable invention had a trail of failure. A humble leader doesn’t panic or shame individual failures but comes alongside their teammates to translate them into an opportunity for growth.

Becoming and remaining a humble leader takes purposeful energy and a vision, quite unlike the typical business mindset. Thinking outside of the box is the mark of a successful leader, and humility is an outside-the-box leadership quality. As a leadership keynote speaker, I enjoy steering companies toward better leadership practices. So, if humility is a leadership trait your company needs more of, let’s connect today to begin the process.