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People Love To Work For Leaders Who Embrace Humility

People love to work for leaders who embrace humility. Humility is a typically rare commodity in leadership in many sectors. Working with hundreds of leaders, in various sectors over the years, this theme comes up time and time again. Performance problems in one area of life can signal similarities elsewhere too. 

The importance of humility in leadership is key. Leaders hold the key to how organisations run. What you do, gets passed on to the next generation. If you care for your organisation and its future, you need to be humbly self-aware!

If your goal is to empower people and leave a legacy behind as a good leader, there are a few key ways to become better able to achieve that goal.


Practice and Understand Why Humility is Necessary

One leader I worked with recalled an instance where they had some problems with certain employees they worked with. For example, they talked about how at meetings ‘they just don’t do what I tell them to do properly’. Sensing there was more to the story, I fished deeper to hear how they were doing the ‘telling’ at work.

I discovered that this leader had grown accustomed to ‘higher volume speaking’ whilst in the work environment. Well, not just the work environment, it turned out that speaking loudly was a tendency they had embraced as the norm in interactions with many people in their lives.

As a leader, being challenged should be invited. Many leaders have a tendency to become defensive rather than curious when challenged. Many believe they have to be ‘right’ or have a show of strength. 


Leaders Should Focus on Leading

Usually, it’s a self-confidence or self-esteem issue. Perhaps they have an embedded belief that if they are seen to be ‘undermined’ by others at meetings or in a boardroom, they fear losing control of teams or the organisation.

Some leaders feel the need to be all-knowing and a dose of humility can enable a leader to step back and say, ‘I don’t know the answer to this question’, and perhaps ask their team if they have any ideas.

The attempt to be a ‘know it all leader can damage relations and cause leaders to lose rapport with their teams if they have a tendency to try to carry too much of the burden on their shoulders.


Awareness is A Key Factor in Embracing Humility

To increase and practice humility, understand where to apply it. That can be where many leaders fall down.

Some leaders create an atmosphere that protects them from ever becoming aware of where they are being ineffective leaders. Either using force or normalising their harmful tendencies in ways that create a ‘chilling effect’ amongst staff and other team members.

This can cost organisations millions in the resulting flight of valuable staff and absenteeism due to working in such environments being a hellish experience for the people who are working under such conditions.


Tension is Toxic in The Workplace

Speaking up against a dynamic where a leader has assumed so much power can cause so much stress and anxiety for fellow team members and employees that it often goes unspoken.

This can create an environment where a leader has plateaued and cannot grow and a workforce that is ambivalent about playing their A-game for the company out of fear of repercussions.

This is usually where a strong organisation’s HR department leans in. Providing coaching interventions helps employees greatly but many organisations don’t even have such options.

This is changing but the archetype of such leaders is one any new recruit to a company is hyper-vigilant about.  They’ll avoid threatening their career trajectory by appearing ‘insubordinate’.


How Being Humble Can Move Us Towards Better Outcomes?

  1. It takes us out of our ego state and considers what is important for the organisation. Ego leads to taking the glory, protecting special interests or sacred calves. However, ego can lead to attempts to save face when we make mistakes.
  2. When we embrace humility, we are open to learning about something that we might not have known before. Perhaps it will come from someone in a much more junior position too. Without humility, we might miss out on opportunities to learn and grow in areas where we are not strong.
  3. Humility allows us to act without prejudice. Many times we can have some internalised prejudice which leaves us judging people and opinions negatively. Everyone has a different model of the world.  Sometimes this diversity of opinion opens opportunities that a prejudiced and judgmental position could lead us away from. Uncovering this brings opportunity for innovation in our organisations and businesses.
  4. Embracing humility encourages others to take risks more often. Colleagues and employees feel like they’re able to speak on our level. If we create a form of stratification, our team, our employees close down and feel overawed. Humility offers automatic forgiveness to others and ourselves for our own failings and attempts.
  5. Fear is not a tool humble leaders use to motivate. This creates a sense of possibility over an atmosphere of tension. This creates workplace and organisational harmony with more confident and assured staff.
  6. Humble leaders are better at utilising the strengths within organisations. They have better communication and rapport with their teams and get better results with increased workplace satisfaction.

What’s the Point?

In conclusion, humility is a quality worth developing. Therefore when leaders develop it, workplaces can become a place that elicits positive emotions rather than dread on a Monday morning. The workplace doesn’t have to be a place of nightmares on a Sunday evening. So, aim at developing humility for you and your employees.


I am a Freedom Coach and Mentor – I help freedom-loving people in early/mid-career create a Successful Mindset. If you would like to explore some of these themes and move towards achieving more freedom this year, let’s connect and set up a call.

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