A Critical Growth Path for Leaders: Humility

Inexperienced Leaders sometimes gets confused between power and leadership. They think that power, shown through exercising authority and taking charge, or being in a position to tell others what to do is leadership.  However power and leadership are two very different things. Power is a tool that can only be used effectively by Leaders, far down the path of Generosity, Wisdom and Humility. Power used in the absence of these three leadership characteristics leads to Pride and its destructive consequences.

Sustainable Leaders Moves Away From Pride

The first step is to acknowledge that leadership has nothing to do with you. It is about other people. It is about taking responsibility to develop them, address their problems and mobilizing more people to add value to society and individuals alike.

Being full of pride will not allow you to take this viewpoint, because pride is all about yourself and what you can get out of it.

Pride is living with the idea that you have everything under complete control because of your competence. This kind of pride believes you do not really need anyone’s help or insight to address challenges and problems coming you and your team’s way. It makes you impatient with people who do not agree with your way of doing things or the solutions you came up with.

Leaders with this kind of pride often;

  • Lack self-perception. They believe that they have very little if any weaknesses creating large blind spots in their lives. These blind spots may lead to major downfalls when a crises strike.
  • Is Self-Centered. They do not allow other options as possible solutions to problems besides their own and get resentful of people who do not acknowledge their way as the right way.
  • Live in Denial. They deny the fact that there are problems because their pride will not allow them to ask for solution suggestions.

The foolishness of pride lies in the centralization of all achievement in the person of the leader.

Sustainable Leaders Decentralize

Decentralization in leadership means simply that everything is not centred around you as a leader. In fact your role as leader should not take centre stage at all. Sustainable Leaders act as a catalyst that unleashes the creative genius in the group to come up with solutions and ideas. Leaders can do this by becoming outwardly focussed, instead of just focussing on yourself and how you can excel. Rather begin to ask how you can let others excel and how their contribution in your life can help you grow.

Leaders do this by;

  • Developing a sense of humility and modesty about your abilities, and strengths. Start by acknowledging the skills and contribution others in your team have to offer.
  • Doing an honest self-appraisal.  Solicit honest and direct feedback on your performance as Leader and where you can improve from your team.
  • Accept your own humanity. This means that you will make mistakes and will have to own up to it. Do not deny them or the fact that you can make mistakes.

Sustainable Leaders are Humble

Being humble does not mean you are a push over and people can take advantage of you. It also does not mean you lack assertiveness and the ability to use your power as a Leader. Humility is not being weak. True Humility is found in a quiet confidence in your abilities and a clear understanding of your limits. It is found in the self-assured presentation of your viewpoints, allowing opportunity to be otherwise convinced.

Humility acknowledges that sometimes you do not know, but making use of your Wisdom, you surround yourself with the right people. Humility is having the presence in your team of taking responsibility, having the self-knowledge to delegate away from your weaknesses towards other’s strengths.

Humility is leading by serving the people you lead.

How often is your Leadership Characterized by pride?

How effectively do you decentralize through effective delegation?

Do you serve the people you lead?

About Joseph Hawking

I have a passion for people & leadership development and since I discovered my mom’s old typewriter as a boy, I have written in some form or another.
I started blogging in 2017 and in August 2018, I started The Leadership Connexion with the aim to make the connection between Business, Leadership and Life. My professional experience span across various business disciplines, including Training, Project Management, Human Resource Management and Finance. I have a MBA degree and I am co-founder and director of a Project Management Company.
I am part of the Leadership for The International Mentoring Network (IMN), South African Chapter, where I am a regular Idea Studio Facilitator and Annual IMN Conference Speaker. I believe that the highest form of living is using what you are blessed with to add value to other people’s lives.