The Strength To Be Humble

I love these thoughts on humility written by Lloyd D. Newell. I think humility is very misunderstood & at the same time absolutely essential to great leadership.



The Strength to be Humble by Lloyd D. Newell


A national newspaper grabbed attention recently with this headline: “The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses.” At first, that may seem to contradict conventional wisdom – that a good leader is dynamic, dominating, and bold. But it’s been found that people who work for humble bosses exhibit better teamwork and perform at higher levels. Not surprisingly, when a leader listens to the perspective of others and constantly seeks to learn and improve, the people who follow that leader are more likely to do the same. That doesn’t mean leaders should be passive or indifferent. On the contrary, as one expert observed: “Humble leaders can also be highly competitive and ambitious. But they tend to avoid the spotlight and give credit to their teams.” As a result, some employers today are making humility one of the key qualities they look for in applicants, even for entry-level positions. Humility, they have found, will help their organization thrive and achieve its goals.


And the same, of course, is true in the home. Think about the goals you have for your family, for your most cherished relationships. Perhaps humility is a first step toward achieving them. When parents and children admit their mistakes, ask for help to improve, and resist the urge to compare themselves to others, they thrive – and they help each other thrive. If we want to build authentic bonds of trust and cooperation, humility is just as needed at home as it is at work. It is nourishment that feeds all successful relationships.


Humility is often talked about and thought about yet often misunderstood. Humility is not weak-kneed or wishy-washy. It is big hearted and open minded. Humility is strength – the strength to subdue self-interest and listen, be patient, withhold judgment, and applaud the efforts of others. In that case, the question for each of us may be “Are you strong enough to be humble?”


Employers may be able – to some degree – to spot pride or arrogance in job applicants, but it’s much harder to see it in ourselves. Ironically, it takes humility to recognize our own lack of humility. But if we at least begin by acknowledging our weaknesses, we will find in ourselves the strength to by humble.


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