Leaders with humility


A sense of humility is essential to leadership because it authenticates a person’s humanity. We humans are frail creatures; we have our faults. Recognizing what we do well, as well as what we do not do so well, is vital to self-awareness and paramount to humility.

Humble leaders have increased self-awareness and insight and thereby experience greater commitment and performance from their followers.

The virtue of humility matters a great deal. It matters not only because it allows us to become better leaders, but because humble leaders are the ones who build the types of teams that make a difference in the world.

Being interested in other cultures and how people in those cultures do things, especially with regard to business and mission, implies a certain humility. Humility here means a belief that other lands and cultures have figured out very interesting answers to life’s problems. As a good international business and mission person, you must be open to and fascinated by those answers. This trait requires a willingness and ability to listen well and with real intention.

Creative and innovative behaviour of employees became increasingly important for organizations seeking to compete in fast – moving environments where innovation increases the likelihood to gain a competitive advantage. One of the key sources of
employees’ creativity is seen in successful leadership. Meanwhile, corporate scandals
and the remarkable failures in moral and ethical judgment by highly visible
leaders contributed to an increased focus on the topic of humility in organizational research and to the conceptualization of humble leadership – a leadership style that considers followers as equal and valuable.
Creating a culture of safety requires leading differently. Aspiring leaders need to abandon the image of the self-reliant, heroic leader in favor of a shared leadership model characterized by humility and partnership. Humility means a leader does not presume to have the answer, but rather strives to ask questions that elicit ideas and participation, engendering consensus and commitment to the execution of a shared plan. In other words, leaders should enlist and motivate others and guide a process of collaborative learning through cycles of preparation, trial, reflection, and trying again. Evidence suggests this process is effective for leading organizational change. It also models a learning orientation for organizational members. In contrast, health care leaders can undermine their ability to affect lasting change and create a learning orientation by focusing on just getting the job done and viewing themselves as capable of working in isolation.
In light of these expressions, let’s define humility as characterized by admitting mistakes, learning from criticism and different points of view, acknowledging and seeking contributions of others to overcome one’s limitations.
The idea of a humble CEO is a romantic departure from the greedy self-serving corporate hero. Rather, when faced with adversity, humble CEOs sacrifice their own interests for the greater good.
What a difference in just a few years where the virtue of humility was seen as limiting, even uncomfortable especially in the context of our corporate world where profit, maximization and pursuance of competitive advantage prevail as dominant narratives. Humility was another word for a weakness that indicated there was low self-esteem and a characteristic that was incompatible with the tough realities faced by leaders in progressive, modern, and competitive organizations.

Pride and Humility


Self is the object and the origin of the passions of pride and humility.


  • Pride and humility are simple and uniform impressions.
    • We can never give a just definition of them.
  • We can pretend to describe them by enumerating the circumstances that attend them.
  • But the words ‘pride’ and ‘humility’ are of general use.
    • The impressions they represent are the most common of any.
    • Everyone will be able to form a just idea of them, without mistake.

Both produce a separate pain or pleasure.

“Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.” John R.W. Stott

John R.W. Stott’s succinct statement about pride and humility goes straight to the heart of what the Bible teaches about the deadly root of our sins and sorrows.

And, a few other quotes on pride and humility from Thomas Adam —

“Man would be intolerable to himself, and look out every way for help, if it was not for his pride.” 

“If I bring my pride with me to the work of God, it will feed as sweetly upon it as upon any other distinction, and in the end fatally blast it.” 

“The way to be humble is to look upwards to God. If we think greatly of his majesty, purity, and infinity of all excellence, it will give us such a striking view of our vileness and absolute unworthiness, that we shall think it hardly possible for any to be lower than ourselves.” 

“God never makes any man what he should be, without first making him know what he is.”

“Humility is knowing that we are not humble.”



Leaders with pride


What effect is there on other people when the leader is characterized by pride?

In today’s increasingly collaborative business environment, ego has become a liability. While there’s nothing wrong with superstar talent, a healthy competitive drive, and sharply honed skills, you cannot reach your full potential by relying on these alone. To achieve your goals, you are going to need the cooperation and talents of other individuals.

The world or different ends of the supply chain, are a fact of life in business today. Some alliances are no more than fleeting encounters, lasting only as long as it takes one partner to establish a beachhead in a new market. Others are the prelude to a full merger of two or more companies’ technologies and capabilities. Whatever the duration and objectives of business alliances, being a good partner has become a key corporate asset. It’s a company’s collaborative advantage. In the global economy, a well-developed ability to create and sustain fruitful collaborations gives companies a significant competitive leg up.

The reality is that people cannot stay grounded by themselves. Leaders depend on people closest to them to stay centered. They should seek out people who influence them in profound ways and stay connected to them. Often their spouse or partner knows them best. They aren’t impressed by titles, prestige, or wealth accumulation; instead, they worry that these outward symbols may be causing the loss of authenticity.

High integrity organizations are characterized as organizations that are collaborative,
constructive, innovative, transparent, with high employee morale, valued customer loyalty, and strong partnerships. They build teams and create value.
A brief sketch of Plato’s approach to his inquiry into the nature of justice must suffice here, to make intelligible his distinction of justice from the other kinds of virtue, and their role in the good life. This question is addressed in a quite circuitous way. Justice is first to be studied in the ‘larger text’ of the state, rather than in the hard-to-decipher ‘small text’ of the soul. A study of how a city comes to be will supposedly reveal the origin of justice and injustice (369a). Its founding principle is – at least at first – not high-minded concern, but mutual economic need: “A city comes to be because none of us is self-sufficient (autarkês), but we all need many things. … And because people need many things, and because one person calls on a second out of one need and on a third out of a different need (chreia), many people gather in a single place to live together as partners and helpers.” The ‘need’ is, at least at this point, purely economic. The minimal city is based on the need for food, clothing, shelter, and for the requisite tools. Economic efficiency dictates the adoption of the principle of the ‘division of functions’: It is best if everyone performs the task s/he is naturally most fit for. This principle determines not only the structure of the minimal, self-subsistent state of farmers and craftsmen, but also the subsequent separation of the city’s inhabitants into three classees in the ‘maximal state’ that caters to higher demands. For a more luxurious city needs protection by a professional army as well as the leadership of a class of philosopher-kings and -queens. Beyond the claim that the division of functions is more economical, Plato gives no justification for this fateful decision that determines the social order in the state, as well as the nature of the virtues. Human beings are not born alike, but with different abilities that predestine them for different tasks in a well-ordered state. This leads to Plato’s rule: ‘one person – one job’ – Dorothea Frede, Plato’s Ethics: An Overview


True servanthood

true servanthood

Servanthood is a conscious effort to choose one direction and one set of values over another. There is no mystery here. The basic premise is that we have a model of true servanthood in Christ, but we must follow him in his humble servant role, not in his Lord and Christ roles- Duane Elmer

What is the bedrock?

Being a follower of Jesus, with humility, for the glory of God.

That is what Godly character looks like.

It may be true that women have typically been the most spiritual partners in marriages. They are typically the ones most involved in serving.




The sign is humility


If there ever was a sign of someone following Jesus with humility, it would be someone who did so in prayer.

Praying for our country, for being a people who recognize God’s favour and being glad to do God’s will. We pray for our leadership at whatever level they may be and for justice and peace in our own homes.  Through such answered prayers, and in obedience to following God that those around us, aware of our actions, may see what God looks like.  We continue to pray that our hearts will be thankful in prosperity and that in the day of trouble, our trust will not fail.

We pray that humble and contrite hearts would be pleasing to God, and we do so by remembering every day to ask Him to wash away and cleanse us from our sin.

Most merciful God,
I confess that I have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what I have done,
and by what I have left undone.
I have not loved you with my whole heart;
I have not loved my neighbours as myself.
I am truly sorry and I humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on me and forgive me;
that I may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Mercy is on our lips, asking for forgiveness, strength, goodness and the power of the Holy Spirit who keep us in eternal life.

Not forgetting, we pray for the comfort and assistance for those who are in trouble, grieving, need, sickness or have run across adversity.




Bedrock for Partnerships

Two Masai warriors walking on savannah at sunset, rear view

If the crux of the gospel and of our walk with God is to humbly follow Jesus and in all things in our lives, give glory to God – it would make sense then that the two foundations on which to build a ministry of mission to others is to practice servanthood and to develop listening skills.

The ultimate purpose is to bring hope into the lives of people wherever we serve.

For me in particular, being a man, there is a need to understand my concept of manhood vs the definition of manhood in the community to which I serve.  I look at Jesus in the midst of a Roman empire and how as a King He became a servant, and how He washed His disciples feet.  My attitude in serving all of my relationships become my defining experience – will I choose to be proud or will I choose to be humble.