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Humility - The Least Uncovered Trait of Successful Leaders

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

Humility in Leadership
Conscious leaders are self-aware, fair and present

Occasionally I will come across someone senior sharing how impressed they are that the CEO of a large organisation warmly greets and chats to the security personnel and cleaners in the building and seems to have a relationship with everyone in their organisation.

Recently this happened again.

Okay, it is nice that people appreciate witnessing such behaviours, but it baffles me that this type of behaviour is still seen as ‘unusual’ or ‘extraordinary’ by some?

Really? It is 2023! Should this not be the norm- the expectation, anyway? That the highly acclaimed leader should be ‘human’!

If we are talking about the CEO of a large organisation, assuming they hopefully would be self-aware, wise (hence such an important position) and have access to all sorts of advanced personal development resources compared to a leader of a much smaller organisation, should they not treat everybody in their organisation with respect and authenticity?

Should they not be expected to display ‘humility’?

Self-aware, humble and fair leaders are popular
Humble leaders are appreciated by their followers

Conscious Leaders are humble (and I feel lucky to have come across a good number of them). Here is a list of reasons why:

  • They are self-aware. They can stand back and observe their own behaviours, the impact they have on others and correct themselves when necessary.

  • They are emotionally intelligent. They are good at noticing and regulating their emotions and helping others regulate theirs.

  • They do not self-identify with their position, title, rank, importance of role. They know they have results to deliver, a job to do and that is their primary goal. Not the extent they are viewed as 'better' or 'more important' than others.

  • They are approachable. They apply the principles of 'servant leadership' so they act with confidence, integrity and openness towards all employees.

  • They are inclusive. They embrace leading all- the whole organisation, not a select few. And behave with the knowledge that every single person in the organisation contributes to the business and plays a role in the organisation’s success and wellbeing.

  • They recognise their and everyone else’s humanity. Regardless of position, title and background they understand that treating everyone with respect and dignity is important as we all unite in our ‘humanity’.

  • They are present. They love and care about what they do, so they are in flow and in the moment. This means when they are interacting with a member of the organisation, they can focus on the conversation, the enquiry or the task at hand and respond.

A leader can be visionary, charismatic and humble all at once. And there are some really successful at it.

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