Some of the words that show up on thesaurus.com under humility are shyness, non resistant, submissiveness, subservience, timidity. These are not the characteristics that one generally looks for in a successful leader.
Nor do we want leaders with the following chartacter traits: arrogance, egoism, pretentious, self importance. These descriptors show up as antonyms for humility.
So how would you label a leader that is able to admit when s/he is wrong and learn from others… who is willing to question or challenge him/herself, and listen to and hear different perspectives?
I would call that leader someone who is going to bring the best out of his/herself as well as their organization. I would also call him/her better equipped to respond to the external and internal forces that threaten an organization’s health and prosperity.
We can all think of leaders who got to their position by being really smart, bold, results oriented, etc. But often these very strengths can become blind spots that cause a leader’s derailment or failure to refresh their organization’s business model in response to market shifts and changing customer requirements.
When these strengths turn into arrogance or even aggressiveness, a leader stops learning, challenging themselves and others to think differently. It is also no surprise that this type of leader engenders groupthink among the leadership team – where healthy debate is not encouraged and divergent thinking is shut down.
So the next time you find yourself – cutting off the very people who you need to count on or you think you’re just too busy to attend a conference or session on new strategies, industry trends or to further your own leadership capabilities… hit the rewind button!
Be teachable and humble enough to recognize that regardless of how much you already know … there is still way more to learn!