Everything Good in Leadership Begins With…

Everything good in leadership begins with humility.

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Humility…

#1. Humility enjoys the success of others.

Arrogant leaders cringe at the success of others, even though leadership success hinges on the success of others.

  1. Humility values others without devaluing self.
  2. Arrogance needs to be ‘better than’. Negative comparisons and trivializing the contribution of others are the tools of self-importance.
  3. Arrogance collapses inward on itself.

#2. Humility commits to personal growth and leadership development.

  1. Arrogance protects image at the expense of reality.
  2. Humility accepts ‘not yet’ and ‘not there’.
  3. Arrogance rejects the need for personal growth. Are you usually thinking of how other need to grow?

#3. Humility engages others early and often.

  1. Seek input, alternatives, and feedback.
  2. Plan collaboratively.
  3. Resist the comfort and safety of isolation.

#4. Humility has tough conversations.

Self-protection prevents leaders from stating hard truths, brutal facts, and negative feedback.

Self-importance breeds self-protection.

3 steps toward humility:

#1. Craft working definitions of humility.

  1. Humility is being accountable to someone else.
  2. Humility is listening with a calm open spirit.
  3. Humility is asking a second or third question, even when you know ‘the’ answer.
  4. Humility is exploring how someone else might be right.
  5. Humility is giving personal affirmations without adding corrections.
  6. Humility is saying what you really think, even if it’s difficult.
  7. Humility is telling others what you’re learning.

#2. Think of humility as persistent practice.

Put one or two of your definitions of humility into practice every day.

You can’t talk your way into humility. It’s a practice. Stay cognizant of the tendency to be proud of being humble.

#3. Tell the truth to a trusted colleague, coach, or mentor.

  1. Connect with a humility accountability partner.
  2. Explore how pain and failure contribute to your purpose.
  3. Avoid the ‘woe is me’ attitude of reverse arrogance.

What working definitions of humility might you offer?

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