My heart has been hammering for me to write this article. For quite some time I’ve felt as if we have all been caught in a relentless hailstorm of ego, defensiveness, and boastfulness. When people must constantly tell us how brilliant, talented, and extraordinary they are it simply makes me feel that they have an insatiable need for approval rather than actually being brilliant and talented. And when those people are in positions of leadership they are setting the worst possible examples for those they lead, for their families, and for the future. They are teaching EGO not We Go! They seem to have lost sight of the incredible impact and magic of authentic humility.
True humility, not the insincere ‘Ah shucks” version sometimes used to manipulate others, is inspired by an irrepressible desire to grow and improve. It comes from a genuine awe about how much there is to learn every single day everywhere we look. Humility is built from tremendous belief in others, that everyone has something they can teach us by words, ideas, actions, and example. Humility fosters respect and appreciation and helps those around us to know they are important, significant, and that they can truly make a difference.
Leaders who exemplify humility seek to build leaders rather than followers and demonstrate the remarkable courage to openly admit when they are wrong or make mistakes. They recognize that these mistakes were not because of intent but rather from interpretations, assumptions, or previous learning that is incorrect, outdated, or no longer applicable. They are much more focused on making things better than on having to be right!
With humility comes appreciation for differences rather than fear. Humble leaders welcome team members with different talents, styles, and perspectives because they understand that those differences become invaluable resources when directed toward benefit for all. They understand as my mentor, the great and humble coaching legend, John Wooden said, “It’s amazing what’s accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit.” Credit is something you GIVE, responsibility is something you TAKE.
Isn’t it time we set this give and take back in the proper positions?
Isn’t it time for the light of humility to shine once again so that we empower others rather than trying to OVERpower them?
Humble leaders are far less concerned about demanding loyalty than being loyal to those they lead and serve.
Discover the magic of humility. Be a life-long learner. Have no fear about admitting mistakes. Value differences rather than fearing them. Become easy to impress but hard to offend. Conceit and arrogance are signs of weakness not strength. Your humility will build more loyalty, energy, and gratitude than bragging and boasting ever will!