Why We Need Humble Leaders

  • Leadership will become more about context and process rather than content and expertise.
  • Humble Leadership can help overcome unconscious biases, segregation, and exclusion.
  • Individual abuse of power is tempting. Humble leaders have a better track record of resisting the abuse of power in comparison with leaders with low humility.
  • Humble leadership can help facilitate the movement toward agile organizations.
  • Humble leaders are rated higher than arrogant leaders on an overall leadership effectiveness index. A comparison of arrogant and humble leaders on an overall leadership effectiveness index composed of 54 behaviors that differentiate the most effective from the least effective leaders. Arrogant leaders were rated at the 34th percentile, while humble leaders were rated at the 66th percentile.
  • Humble leaders demonstrated that people are just as important as results. The arrogant leader believes that results are the ultimate goal, and if a few people get negatively affected, that’s just the cost of doing business. The humble leaders understand the balance of achieving while still being sensitive to individual needs. They also believe if you take care of people, they will be more engaged and dedicated, which will produce better results in the long run.
  • Humble leaders focused on gaining trust from others. Humble leaders do everything they can to build up trust with others. They are more effective on the key levers that build trust, which are: creating positive relationships, consistently delivering on their promises, and providing expertise and good judgment.
  • Humble leaders believe that success comes from cooperation and collaboration. The arrogant leader believes that they can accomplish goals on their own. They resist collaboration because they want all the credit for themselves. The humble leaders know that organizational success comes from people working together. They ask others for help and resist taking credit for the accomplishments of others.
  • Humble leaders are role models and walk their talk. When humble leaders ask others to do something, they make sure they do it first. Arrogant leaders are okay with asking others to do what they do not do. They are fine with having a double standard, or perhaps they don’t see it. In many ways, they act as though they are a privileged class where rules for others do not apply to them.
  • Humble leaders ask for and acts on feedback from others. Humble leaders ask others for feedback and work hard to implement their suggestions for change. Arrogant leaders feel that they do not want or need feedback from others. In fact, they often feel that asking for feedback would signal a lack of confidence in themselves. Therefore, they resist asking.
  • Humble leaders resolve conflicts productively. Arrogant leaders tend to create conflict with others. This is due, in part, to a belief that conflict is a good thing that fuels competitive energy from others. Humble leaders feel that conflict creates a negative work environment and work hard to resolve conflicts.
  • Humble leaders give others honest feedback. The arrogant leaders believe their job is to be the judge and let others know when they make mistakes. Their feedback is almost always negative and corrective. The humble leader realizes that honest feedback needs to reflect an individual’s performance.



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Ray Williams

Ray Williams

Author/Retired Executive Coach-Helping People Live Better Lives and Serve Others