Humble Leaders Have the Greatest Inner Strength

Humble Leaders Have the Greatest Inner Strength 150 150 Jennifer Ledet

I know that may come as a shock to you, but it’s true.

The dictionary defines humility as the quality of being modest, respectful, or humbleHumble is defined as modest and unassuming in attitude and behavior; feeling or showing respect and deference toward other people; not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive.

You may be thinking that definition sounds wimpy or weak. Au contraire, my friend! Humble people are those who actually have great inner strength. They are so secure and confident in their own abilities and worth that they don’t need constant approval or limelight.

As a leader, your job is to get the work done through your team members. And don’t forget, management and leadership are not one and the same. Managers manage things, processes, systems, resources, etc. Leaders inspire, engage, and influence people. Leaders have followers who want to give their best effort. Successful executive leaders cause people to choose to perform at their best.

Use these four strategies to practice humility in your executive leadership:

1. Let the other person shine, be the star. It’s not about you and your accomplishments. Your job is to draw out what was left in, not to put in what was left out. Prepare your team members for success and then step out of their way and let them shine.

2. Try being more interested in the other person than you are in yourself. Ask questions, and show a sincere interest in what’s going on in the other person’s life. Notice I said sincere. People can spot a phony baloney a mile away. Faking interest in someone else just so you can get something you want borders on manipulation, and that is definitely NOT what we’re talking about here.

3. Admit you don’t know everything. This is truly humbling. It can be harder than apologizing or admitting you’ve made a mistake. Allow someone else to have the answer. Be open to learning from everyone, regardless of their title.

4. Look for ways that you can be of service to others. Listen, really listen to what people say. Note their interests, concerns, and anything else that you learn about them. Keep your ears open for ways that you can help them or connect them to someone else who can fill a need.

Case in point:

I once introduced myself to someone at a professional association meeting and enjoyed chatting with him for several minutes. By the time we parted, I knew his name, where he lives, his educational background, what he does professionally, where his kids go to school and their favorite sports teams!

Two months later he was the featured speaker at another association meeting, where he spoke on the importance of humility and authenticity in leadership. Later, he asked a colleague my name and wondered aloud if we’d met before. He had no memory of our conversation! That’s because it had been all about him. He didn’t ask any questions about me, nor did he give a hoot about me. By the way, his presentation went over like a lead balloon. Like I said, people can spot a phony baloney a mile away.

Taking a piece of humble pie is about being able to forget yourself and focus on encouraging and developing others.

CHIME IN! What will you:

  • start doing,
  • stop doing, or
  • continue doing

to develop more humility in your role as an executive leader? Use the comment box below and share your plan with us!

Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication.  In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problems.

For more resources on leadership and employee engagement, be sure to sign up for our monthly Ezine and you will receive our report: “7 of Your Biggest People Problems…Solved.”

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