Part 7 – Effective Leadership Habits #6: Humility

effective leadership habit humility

In business, organizations that reach greatness don’t get there by riding on the coattails of a few superstars. Instead, companies achieving incredible feats do so through dynamic teams and groups of people who work together as equal parts of the whole, like different components of a well-oiled machine. Conceptually, you probably know this, but putting it into practice is a different matter. That’s why humility is such an important habit of powerful leaders. It’s those who consistently show selflessness who move others and make the biggest ripples in the business.

The Humility Mindset

The definition of humility is to be humble or have a lower view of one’s own importance. In leadership, this means that you value yourself, but don’t hold yourself as more important than anyone else. Everyone has equal relevance. The great leaders I know and have worked with have an entirely different view of hierarchy than the average manager. These leaders recognize that every person and every role is equally crucial; they see everyone as being an integral part of the entire business and don’t see any position better than the other. Again, this is easier said than done, and the difference is made when it’s practiced, not just preached.

Feeling Included

As leaders, our attitudes and leadership style has more impact on our company culture than we realize. One of the most influential results of leading with humility is that it creates employees who feel included. performed a research study recently on humility.* During this study, they characterized altruistic behavior in managers by the following:

    • Acts of humility, admitting mistakes
    • Empowering followers to develop themselves and continue learning
    • Displaying courage, taking personal risks for the greater good
  • Holding employees responsible for results

In this study, when managers showed these signs of humility, employees reported feeling more included in their work teams.

Employees who felt their managers showed more humility also reported being more innovative, providing suggestions for new product ideas and how to improve work performance. These employees also reported going beyond the call of duty and being willing to help pick up the slack of their sick or absent co-workers. These behaviors were all linked to a feeling of inclusion and being part of a team. As you can see, it’s crucial to create that environment in your organization.

How To Create the Habit of Humility

Again, with most of these habits we’re discussing, compelling leaders have ingrained the behavior of humility into their character. Here are a few consistent actions to take to make humility a habit of yours.

  1. Share Your Mistakes and Lessons

We all have our flaws and make mistakes; no one is perfect. When managers can openly share their humanity, it becomes easier for others to connect with them. Sharing your own personal growth and lessons communicates that it’s ok for others on your team to grow and develop as well. Display this behavior with your employees and team members in one-on-one situations and in large group settings. Team and company meetings are great times to get a little vulnerable and share you mistakes, helping others learn your lessons and encouraging employees to adopt a growth-oriented mindset.

  1. Seek to Understand

Having humility means you’re approachable, you’re able to admit you don’t have all the answers, you’re willing to engage in discussions and you can let go of the need to be right. Being open to other’s opinions and having healthy discussions can lead to new ideas and breakthroughs. Being a humble leader means checking your beliefs, ego, and personal agenda at the door while listening to others and fully getting their perspective. This behavior creates teamwork, opportunities to learn from other people’s points of view, and you validate your followers’ unique way of seeing things.

Making it known that you’re open to other opinions is one thing, but respecting and taking them seriously is what will make all the difference.

  1. Accept the Unpredictability

Being an effective leader isn’t about always knowing the right answer, in fact, most of the best leaders I know willingly admit that they don’t have all the solutions. It’s not their job to have everything already figured out. Their job is to lead and create the environment that provides answers and greater wisdom from the collective whole to naturally arise. Great leaders embrace the ambiguity of the business world, and then facilitate the space for others to come forward and offer ideas and solutions. As human beings, we work much better as teams. Usually, the best ideas and solutions are generated within group environments that support and welcome many different perspectives. If you make this known, your followers won’t diverge to some greater power that has all the answers, assuming things are getting figured out up top. Instead, a culture is created that everyone understands they are equal to one another, and if things are going to change, they are the ones to help create it.

As a leader, it takes courage to show humility. It’s not an easy thing to do, and in the average company, it’s fairly uncommon. Being selfless isn’t something that get’s you immediate rewards, but it will pay off in the long run. Not only will you stand out as unique, but you’ll also earn the trust and respect of your followers just by who you’re being. I’m challenging you to embrace this habit and to take your leadership and organization to the next stage of growth through your own humility.

What else makes a leader the kind of person you want to be around? Their energy. Stay tuned because the next post will be all about enthusiasm and how it plays a key role in your leadership success. 3 Step on how to Achieve Successful Leadership Habits