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Humility – a virtue of leadership

In this world of social media, wherein people focus immensely on self-promotion, it seems odd to address the feeling of humility however, a humble leader is an absolute necessity, more so during these times of uncertainty. I have had the privilege to interact with leaders from different walks of life at various intervals of time, and one virtue common to almost all of them was humility.

Humility finds a place in the Bhagavad Gita and is defined as the absence of self-importance. An action-oriented, high-achiever may shudder at the terms servant leader or humble leader, but research by the journal of management on Do Humble CEOs Matter? An Examination of CEO Humility and Firm Outcomes revealed that humility in CEOs led to higher-performing leadership teams, increased collaboration, cooperation, and flexibility in developing strategies.

So, what makes humility such an important trait?

Humble leaders understand that they are not the smartest person in every room, and they do not need to be the one either. They encourage people to speak up, respect differences of opinion, and champion the best ideas, regardless of whether they originate from a top executive or a production-line employee.

When a leader works to harness input from everyone, it carries through the organization. As other executives and line managers emulate the leader’s approach, a culture of getting the best from every team and every individual takes root. In short, such leaders know how to get the most from people.

Shifting from self to self-less a critical part of the transition that empowers a team and enables an organization to operate smoothly and effectively.

Contrary to many opinions humility is not about thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less, said Ken Blanchard. It helps one leverage their potential without being boastful about
themselves.

Some of the simple steps to be humble are as follows:

No great leader was born a certain way, they were created and grown. Insanely intentional, unequivocally empathetic, and proud to be different with an acute sense of time, the signs of future leaders are clear to the trained eye. Incorporating greatness into the early days secures more bright ones ahead.

We tend to be impressed by charismatic candidates with powerful personalities and a commanding presence. My advice is to dig deeper. Search for quiet confidence, humility, and a focus on others. In my experience, that’s where great leadership begins.

I would be happy to know your experiences and views about humility – a virtue of leadership.

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