One of the greatest mistakes I see leaders make is when they believe they have to know it all and take care of everything themselves.
We are all born with precious gifts and talents called strengths. At the same time, we all have areas in which we are not strong and where we have blind spots. Seeking structures or ideas for our growth edge is necessary to continue developing into our best, humble selves.
This is part 3 of the 3-part series on Humility by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.
I hope you’ll pick up a nugget or two from this week’s article.Be vulnerable regarding failures and challenges. Others will see your self-confidence and wisdom are tempered with humility. Click To Tweet
In my posts last week and the week before, we’ve been discussing the character trait of humility, particularly when it comes to authentic leadership. Praised by author Jim Collins in his classic book Good to Great, and according to research on companies that sustain success over time, humility is a defining character of Level 5 leaders.
Authors John Dame and Jeffrey Gedmin in “Six Principles for Developing Humility as a Leader,” published in Harvard Business Review, September 2013, offer some sound 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. You need to know where you are strong (your strengths) and where you are not. Be open to relying on those who have other strengths, relevant qualifications, and expertise, and 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 you climb.
- Listen, even (no, especially) to the weird ideas
There is ample evidence that you should listen to all of 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, development, and the success of your teams. Resolve to work on your own authenticity and humility. You’ll 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.