Demonstrate Humility

FranklinCovey Content Team


Has your lack of humility ever limited your perspective or lessened your influence as a leader? Would you even know if it had?

Leaders who fail to demonstrate humility often find themselves leaning toward arrogance and seeking outside validation. They rarely listen to anyone but themselves, and thus miss opportunities to learn and course-correct. They often turn conversations into a competition and feel the need to “one-up” others and have the final say.

In the book Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Building Effective Relationships at Work, Todd Davis writes:

“Those who are humble have a secure sense of self—their validation doesn’t come from something external, but is based on their true nature. To be humble means to shed one’s ego, because the authentic self is much greater than looking good, needing to have all the answers, or being recognized by one’s peers. As a result, those who have cultivated humility as an attribute have far greater energy to devote to others. They go from being consumed with themselves (an inner focus) to looking for ways to contribute and help others (an outer focus). Humility is the key to building solid character and strong, meaningful connections.”

When you learn to embrace humility, you feel more comfortable because you know who you are. You can let go of the fear of making mistakes or the need to never show weakness. To quote Dr. Stephen R. Covey, “Humble leaders are more concerned with what is right than being right.”

From Mess to Success Action Steps:

  • Pick an initiative you’re leading or participating in.
  • Identify someone whose perspective on the initiative is different from yours.
  • Schedule time to listen to their perspective. When they differ substantially, exercise the patience and respect to not just understand, but to genuinely consider their point of view.
  • What did you learn that might measurably improve the initiative? The relationship? Your own leadership style?
  • Become more comfortable, even confident, in not having all the answers yourself. This a strength, not a weakness.

For more on demonstrating humility, watch this short clip of Scott Miller, author of Management Mess to Leadership Success.

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