Humility – a Pillar of Leading Elegantly
In a global marketplace where problems are increasingly complex, no one person will ever have all the answers. That’s why Google’s SVP of People Operations, Lazlo Bock, says humility is one of the traits he’s looking for in new hires. “Your end goal,” explained Bock, “is what can we do together to problem-solve. I’ve contributed my piece, and then I step back.” And it is not just humility in creating space for others to contribute, says Bock—it’s “intellectual humility. Without humility, you are unable to learn.” Goal #1 of today’s leader is to communicate simply, powerfully and more frequently and to solve problems together.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” – Rick Warren
In leadership, it can be tempting to become enamored with status. However, it is crucial that leaders focus on their staff more than they focus on themselves. The best leaders are selfless and more concerned with the well-being of their team than with their personal titles. You cannot be an effective leader if you feel you are better than your subordinates. Furthermore, teams under such leaders live with hostility and experience low productivity and high turnover.
“When I talk to a manager, I get the feeling they are important, but when I talk to a leader, I get the feeling I am important.”
Have Our Backs. Be willing to get in the trenches. Your team needs to know you have their back and are willing to work together with them. They cannot feel you aren’t willing to work for and with them. A true leader supports their team period without caveats.
Lead Us. Think like a leader, not a manager. A wise person once said, “When I talk to a manager, I get the feeling they are important, but when I talk to a leader, I get the feeling I am important.” Each person on your team should walk away from a one-on-one with you feeling empowered, valued, important and appreciated. A leader views his or her team members as human beings. A manager views his or team members as a means to an end. Know the difference and lead your team accordingly.
Get Over Yourself. Remove your ego from the equation. When faced with a challenging decision or difficult personality, this can be a hard rule to follow. Maintaining objective judgment is one of the biggest ways you can show humility as a leader. If your team can count on you to check your ego at the door and make decisions that will be for the equal benefit of your entire team, they will have a great deal of respect for you.
Be The Change. We have all heard the famous quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” As it relates to your team’s culture, this means to lead by example. As leaders, we must remember our team looks to us to set the standard. Make sure they see a good standard when they look at your own personal work habits.
Leading with humility has an immediate impact on your team and gives you the ability to influence and develop them individually by your example. Not only will leading with humility impact your business, it will also impact you personally. You will feel better about yourself, your work and your team.
Listen to Learn – create and maintain openness to others’ opinions.
Meet Your Team’s Needs – tend to their needs first; leadership is sacrifice!
You’re No Guru. Admit mistakes, make amends and commit to removing bad behaviors.
Be Comfortable in the Gray. Ambiguity exists daily, information/data is less than perfect.
Self-reflect. Enough said.
Leave Them Alone. They’re hired to perform their job. Let them!