coach dublin ireland rob duffy rob@robduffy4coach.com phone +353877495366

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. When there is a problem in how they perform in one area of their lives, it shows up in a lot of other areas of their lives too. 

This is important in leadership especially because leaders are the philosophical powerhouse and replicator of an organisation. What you do, gets passed on to the next generation. If you care for your organisation, you need to be 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. I asked for an example of how the problems showed up. 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.

It came to pass that I discovered that this leader had grown accustomed to ‘higher volume speaking’ when they were 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 the tendency to become defensive when they are challenged with a belief that they have to be ‘right’ or have a show of strength. 

Usually, it’s a self-confidence or self-esteem issue. 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, we’ve to be aware of where this humility should be applied. That can be where many leaders fall down.

Some leaders create an atmosphere which protects them from ever becoming aware of where they are being an ineffective leader. Either through force or by normalising their harmful tendencies in ways which creates 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.

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 which 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 to provide coaching interventions but many organisations don’t even have such an option.

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 or attempting to save face when making 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 risk more because colleagues and employees feel like they’re able to speak on our level. When we create a form of stratification, our team, our employees can close down and feel overawed. Humility offers automatic forgiveness to others and ourselves for our own failings and attempts.
  5. Humility leads staff from fear in certain situations. This creates a sense of possibility rather than an atmosphere of tension. This creates workplace and organisational harmony with more confident and assured staff.
  6. Humility embracing leaders are better equipped at utilising all the strengths of their organisational capability. They have better communication and rapport with their teams and get better results with increased workplace satisfaction.


I have created a FREE challenge which goes some way to remedy this issue in the form of a Free 5 Day Challenge to help you catapult your journey towards mapping a better vision for what mastery in your emotional, professional and personal life might look like and I encourage you to check it out and start changing your story today.

Also, feel free to join The Mapping Your Mastery Facebook Group!