Humility comes from confidence, grounded in competence, and seasoned with selflessness.
Here at GiANT, we believe that leaders define culture, and culture undergirds the lasting health, influence, and impact of an organization. Leaders, therefore, have a responsibility to place their people, their customers/constituents, and their causes above themselves. Not out of self-deprecation or martyrism, but out of a confident conviction in their cause. Good leaders are lifelong learners who value the perspectives and experiences of those different from themselves, and always strive to help their team and organization become the best versions of their individual and organizational selves.
So, without further ado, check out our list of traits that humble leaders always have and/or aspire to:
1. Humble Leaders Lead by Listening.
While they are decisive, they take into consideration the ideas and feelings of others. They especially understand that their perspective and experience is not all-encompassing, and therefore welcome the input of others they trust.
2. Humble Leaders Never Stop Learning.
Since they are secure enough to listen to others and consider alternative opinions, humble leaders are characterized by their marked ability to be perpetual learners. They learn about themselves, about friends and opponents, and never stop studying the multitude of different issues and ideas in the world.
3. Humble Leaders Don’t Seek Power; It Seeks Them.
They do not constantly seek out more power. Instead, they seek more people to serve. More influence and more power follows, but not because they’re seeking it out.
4. Humble Leaders Unite—They Don’t Divide.
They’re consensus builders. They care about team unity and health more than about accomplishing their own agenda. They have the fortitude to put the greater good of their team, constituents, and others ahead of their own ambitions, even when the path ahead proves difficult.
5. Humble Leaders Delegate.
Prideful leaders are focused on proving themselves. Along the way, they tend not to trust those around them to be able to come alongside them and help them achieve that goal. What’s more, they’re not willing to acknowledge their weaknesses in the process, so they never delegate. Humble leaders don’t need to hog all the credit or try to prove they are the best at everything – they delegate because the work is more important than the their ego.
6. Humble Leaders Forgive.
It’s as simple as that.
7. Humble Leaders Admit Mistakes.
All leaders make mistakes. Humble leaders own up to them and learn from them. Prideful leaders? Not so much.
8. Humble Leaders Separate Themselves From the Office/Position They Occupy
When presidents begin to derive their identity from the office they hold, they began to undergo a subtle but dangerous shift. As Harry S. Truman said: “I always made the distinction between the office of the President and the person of the President. That may seem to some a fine distinction, but I am glad I made it. Otherwise I might be suffering today from the same kind of ‘importance’ complex that some people have come down with.” This wisdom remains relevant for any position of power or authority, whether in business, government, or anywhere else.
9. Humble Leaders Pull—Not Push—Their Team Members.
Because they recognize their limits acting alone, they invest in and rely on their followers to contribute to their cause and mission.
10. Humble Leaders Pursue Causes Greater Than Themselves.
Though it might sound counterintuitive, humble leaders are ambitious people. Their ambition, however, is not selfish ambition but a drive to accomplish something for a cause greater than their own success. It’s a dynamic that business guru and leadership expert Jim Collins observes in his book Good to Great. The best companies, Collins notes, have leaders who “are ambitious about the cause, the company, the work—not [themselves].”
How have you seen these traits play out in those who lead you? How many of these traits do you possess? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter posts.
If you’re interested in learning more about how pride and humility affect your leadership, we’re happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let us know!