Express Leadership Humility 6 Ways

A great mistake made by leaders is believing they have to ‘know it all’ and ‘take care of it themselves’.

Each of us are born with precious gifts and talents, we call these strengths. Simultaneously, we each have areas that are not strong, we have blind spots.

To continue developing into your best self it is necessary to seek structures or ideas for your growth edge.

I hope you will grab a nugget or two from this weeks article.


In my previous posts, I’ve been lifting up the character trait of humility, particularly when it comes to authentic leadership. It is praised by author Jim Collins in his classic book Good to Great. Humility is a defining character of Level 5 leaders, according to research on companies that sustain success over time.

Authors John Dame and Jeffrey Gedmin in “Six Principles for Developing Humility as a Leader,” published in Harvard Business Review in September of 2013, offer some suggestions for developing leadership humility:

Know what you don’t know
Resist “master of the universe” impulses. You may yourself excel in an area, but as a leader, you are, by definition, a generalist. Know your strengths and rely on those who have other strengths, relevant qualifications and expertise. Know when to defer and delegate.

Resist falling for your own publicity
We all do it: whether we’re writing a press release or a self-appraisal, we put the best spin on our success — and often forget that the reality wasn’t as flawless. Be Humble!

Never underestimate the competition
You may be brilliant, ambitious, and audacious. But the world is filled with other hard-working, high-IQ, creative professionals. We all have ‘special’ gifts and talents to contribute.

Embrace and promote a spirit of service
Employees quickly figure out which leaders are dedicated to helping them succeed and which are scrambling for personal success at their expense. Always remember to lift as your climb.

Listen, even (no, especially) to the weird ideas
There is ample evidence that you should listen to all the ideas. The most imaginative and valuable ideas tend to come from left field.

Be passionately curious
Constantly welcome and seek out new knowledge, and insist on curiosity from those around you. Take it from Einstein. “I have no special talent,” he claimed. “I am only passionately curious.”


Whether you aspire to climb the leadership ladder or not, your professional success depends on your personal/professional growth and development. Resolve to work on your own authenticity and humility. You will begin to notice and appreciate its impact on those around you. A willingness to be vulnerable regarding your failures and career challenges will validate to others that your self-confidence and wisdom are tempered with humility.

Are you ready to dive deeper into building your capacity for being an authentic leader? Connect with me and, together, we’ll explore how coaching can serve you. You can also reach me on LinkedIn.


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