The greatest leadership quality? In my experience it’s humility. With this as a grounding value, I’ve seen people open themselves up to valuable new ideas, build empowered teams and organizations, and catapult their own personal growth. They protect what they are helping build, through centered, secure pursuit of the best ideas and the strongest solutions, rather than just their own perspectives. Plus, they are just plain fabulous to be around.
Patrick Lencioni of The Table Group has listed humility in his trifecta of successful values: Humble, Hungry, Smart. I think he’s onto something. Being humble when you’re hungry and smart acts as ballast for driven, sharp people. It reminds them that in addition to all the good things they bring to the table, they’ve still got gaps and need others to add to the mix of their work and growth. Without it… well, we’ve all been on the other side of that. Let’s face it, success has a nasty way of cultivating hubris. Hubris unchecked leads to all kinds of limits on both the person themselves and everyone around them. How many success stories have you seen crumble into dust? Plus, they are just plain miserable to be around.
Here’s the kicker though: you can’t manufacture humility. It’s not like learning to strategize better or innovate more. Humility is grounded in personal security – it flows from knowing our inherent worth. With all our flaws and gaps, we are valuable. With security firmly in place, it’s so much easier to open our thinking up to our weaker areas, and not having to be the smartest one in the room all the time. So here’s to the pursuit of stable, humble self-worth. That’s a pretty fantastic foundation on which to build our lasting leadership influence.
The Legacy Center President