A company is only as good as its employees. If employees feel they are being undervalued, then their work will be negatively affected by it. This is why it is essential for leaders to ensure that credit is given where credit is due – a key quality of humble leadership.
Recognizing and encouraging employees falls on the shoulders of a company’s leaders. Suppose a company fails to develop and build leaders who can share the glory and recognize the time and energy invested by their team. In that case, the employees at the company will all end up frustrated and unappreciated – all of which will lead to higher employee turnover rates and a decreased company morale.
According to Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal’s “Work & Family” Column, “Humble people tend to be aware of their own weaknesses, eager to improve themselves, appreciative of others’ strengths, and focused on goals beyond their own self-interest.”
These qualities have a positive effect on the team and benefit the company culture. As a result, humble leadership can increase company morale and productivity while keeping the bottom line performing strong.
The Impact of an Arrogant Leader
Contrary to humble leadership, Shellenbarger argues that a leader who lacks humility can cause the company plenty of damage. An arrogant leader who is overconfident and ignores valuable feedback can cause substantial financial losses for a company. This is what happened to Tesla when Elon Musk cost the electric automaker $20 million… for a tweet.
Many qualities are linked to an arrogant leader, such as a stressful work environment, low-quality work, and even hostile work settings. The reality is, if given a choice, no one would choose to work for an arrogant boss. People would much rather work for a humble leader who will coach and encourage them to reach their full potential.
Yet, arrogance should not be confused with confidence. There is a clear distinction between an arrogant leader and a confident leader. A humble leader is not a leader that lacks confidence; it is simply a leader that channels that confidence into his team rather than to his ego. An arrogant leader is only confident in himself and his abilities, disregarding those of his team.
Such behavior and attitude open the doors for conflict and chaos, especially when dealing with failure. Arrogance finds a way to fill the room. Humility, on the other hand, knows how to coexist in harmony with ambition and confidence.
Humble Leadership Sets a Forward-Looking Vision
The task for every leader should always be to inspire, train, and develop new leaders. Without humility, this turns from a challenging to an impossible task.
Humble leaders are always looking for ways to make their employees find success and, more times than not, become even more successful than they have. However, developing and nurturing talent requires a high level of humility. For humble leaders to invest time, energy, and resources (things no one can ever have back) with their team for them to become more successful and more recognized than themselves is an act that fosters trust, collaboration, and openness.
Such an approach to leadership is very untraditional to the entire aspect of “I am in charge; you bend over backward for me,” which tends to be prevalent in an arrogant leader.
Another quality that sets humble leaders apart is the way they build their teams. Humble leaders are very flexible and untraditional when hiring future team members. Their vision goes beyond filling the immediate need. Instead, they look at who can grow into a leadership or managerial role in the near future.
Humble leaders set a path that sets proteges up for success, including new approaches to follow, and create new tasks to encourage their team’s efforts. Their ability to customize the mission to ensure their team succeeds and is motivated takes a lot of effort, but they do it anyway because they understand the rewards it would bring.
An essential quality of humble leaders is their ability to go out of their way and outside the boundaries of their job descriptions to set their team up for success. For them, what truly matters is the example they are setting for future leaders to follow. That way, they ensure that the leadership culture at their company remains strong for generations to come.
5 Take-Aways From a Humble Mindset
The following are key qualities that humble leaders embody and ensure their successors practice them to keep the leadership philosophy alive generation after generation.
- Be aware of the situation: Emotional intelligence is perhaps one of the most remarkable qualities a leader can possess. Remember, it is not about thinking less of themselves, but thinking of yourself less. Recognizing the weight of decisions and how that affect others is a necessary trait for humble leaders.
- Humble leaders actively listen: Being a good listener helps build relationships and ultimately helps stimulate team growth. Along with helping others on the team, listening allows leaders to have multiple perspectives when making critical decisions.
- Know their limits: It is crucial to know when to stop and ask for help. Humble leaders pay attention to constructive criticism and recognize their faults. Asking for help, in the eyes of humble leadership, is a sign of strength rather than weakness. By asking for help, humble leaders model vulnerability – empowering their team to do the same.
- Delegate: Having a balanced team helps increase productivity and efficiency. Knowing how to delegate responsibility can empower team members to identify the value they bring to the group.
- Celebrate other’s victories: Along with recognition, celebrating the accomplishments of others promotes excellent team morale and incentivizes hard work.
The Difference Humble Leaders Make Lasts Ways Beyond their own Lifetimes
There are many ways to measure success. Lately, the focus has shifted from strictly profits to culture, work-life balance, and quality of life. Along with this shift, the search for what constitutes great leadership is also changing. The qualities of what makes a great leader is going beyond that of measurable success.
The ability to serve others and have genuinely good intentions are becoming the new norm for the workplace – and even beyond the workplace. The way we interact with others and develop relationships has become something we are more and more selective towards. The tolerance for arrogance and selfishness has narrowed, and it seems to be disappearing as time goes by.
We can either continue our ego-centric mentality and become irrelevant, or start seeing the value behind building others up, giving back, and bettering ourselves each and every day.