Humility is a desirable quality for a leader. The humble leader really knows how to bring out the best in those they support and serve.
Humility is associated with a cluster of highly positive traits, including sincerity, fairness, modesty, honesty, and authenticity.
When ego and power are set aside, the humble leader can focus on helping others thrive, shining the spotlight on others, creating a culture of learning, and providing a safe space where all ideas are welcomed.
Being humble doesn’t mean being quiet or submissive; humble leaders often have more confidence, greater influence and are highly effective at improving performance.
In his classic book Good to Great, Jim Collins notes two common traits of leaders who drive organisations from average to outstanding performance. Those traits are humility and a genuine desire to advance the vision of the organisation.
5 qualities of a humble leader
They are genuine
Humble confidence is confidence without arrogance or ego getting in the way. A humble leader genuinely cares about others and seeks to shine the spotlight on others, moving from me to we, and encouraging others to come forward with solutions. Effective listening and a kind and curious interest in others ensure that everyone feels part of the team.
They are self-aware
The humble leader is not afraid to have difficult conversations. They are open and honest in how they communicate and confident and clear in the way they express themselves. Owning their emotions and understanding how to manage their emotions is part of an emotionally intelligent leader and humble leaders tend to have a high EQ.
They recognise their limitations.
The humble leader is skilled and knowledgeable, but they tend not to talk much about their own achievements, or if they do, it is to inspire or encourage others. Always learning themselves, the humble leader creates a learning culture and an understanding they can learn from everyone. They will never pretend to know everything and can identify areas of self-improvement, and if they make a mistake, they will admit they are wrong.
They seek feedback and encourage ideas.
When people feel psychological safety, they feel able to share ideas in a low-risk space. The humble leader recognises the importance of getting input from all team members. Regular feedback from peers is sought by humble leaders, and they continue to develop by asking the right questions and taking action to build on their own and others strengths.
They lead to serve
A humble leader views their role as serving their team as they develop and grow, providing emotional support and encouragement along the way. They really do care. A humble leader may ask, ‘ How can I help you do your job better?’ rather than, ‘How can you do your job better?’
When leaders show humility and ask how they can serve their team, the outcomes can be limitless.
Demonstrating humility includes showing positive traits, including sincerity, fairness, modesty, honesty, and authenticity.
Lisa Evans helps professionals to develop the soft skills they need to succeed in the workplace. Lisa is a certified business coach and experienced and accredited trainer, and a professional speaker. Lisa is a GENOS Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, which means she is certified to deliver the GENOS range of Emotional Intelligence Workshops and Developmental Assessments.
She has coached over a thousand leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales, and not-for-profit and community associations.
If you’d like to chat about how Lisa can help your team excel with the right soft skills, please contact us.
Soft Skills Training Workshops include:
The Emotionally Intelligent Leader includes a GENOS 180° leadership assessment.
The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace
Executive Presence for Leaders
Public Speaking for Leaders
The Leader as Storyteller
Communicate with Influence
Improv Skills for Leaders