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.