Are you a humble person? Or do you have a big ego? Especially if you’re a leader, you might think that having an ego – or always having the answers – comes with the territory. But, humble leadership is beneficial in many ways. It improves psychological capital, team effectiveness, psychological safety, and creativity. When you practice humility, you let others know that it’s ok to listen and learn from their colleagues. You also show them that it’s normal to be imperfect and that others will sometimes be better than you are at work tasks. Learn how to practice humility, and the benefits of doing so below!
Are you Humble Enough to Admit Weakness?
There are three characteristics associated with being a humble leader. The first is that you are willing to admit that you don’t know how to do something. You might also ask others for feedback so that you can improve. Seeing yourself accurately, and being willing to own up to your limitations, is key for being humble. When leaders think that they have all the answers, they often ignore weak spots or pretend they have no room for improvement.
Since everyone has strengths and weaknesses, this attitude stunts self-growth. It also makes others feel as if they have to be perfect too. Try listing your strengths on a piece of paper, to give yourself confidence. Then list the things you know you struggle with (we all struggle with some things!). Who can help you to close the gaps in the areas that challenge you? Let others know you need assistance and ask for help. This will show them that it’s perfectly normal to have weak spots! Plus, it makes them more humble and improves their well-being in return.
Do Others’ Strengths Threaten You?
We have probably all met someone – or been led by someone – who likes to put down talented people because they view them as a threat. Humble leaders are not focused on threats to their ego. In fact, they welcome them! Leaders who practice humility are willing to recognize the strengths of others. And they are likely to go out of their way to give compliments or praise to those around them!
Do you find yourself tensing up when you hear about the accomplishments of others? Do you feel like you always have to “win” and don’t want to share the spotlight with your colleagues? If so, you might need a humility check. Try thinking about a time when someone highlighted one of your strengths at work. It felt good, right? Now think about how good you might make others feel by doing the same for them. You get ahead in the long-term by building strong relationships, not by tearing them down. Try letting someone on your team know you appreciate their strengths!
Are You Humble Enough to Truly Learn from Others?
Finally, being humble means that you are willing to listen to others and actually absorb what they are saying. You are not just listening to what you want to hear or when it feels easy. You are focused on listening with receptivity, so that you can learn from what others are telling you. This requires an open mind and an attitude of “teachability”. If you’re humble, the fact that you don’t know something that others do know isn’t threatening. Instead, it’s an opportunity for self-improvement.
Do you “tune out” when someone is trying to teach you something new? Are you inclined to talk over people or become rigid when someone challenges your perspective? Being humble means that you recognize when someone else has greater expertise than you do. You actively listen to what they are saying and incorporate their thoughts into your worldview. In other words, instead of acting like a brick wall, humble leaders act like a sponge. They absorb new information and use it for self-improvement.
Are you a humble leader? Practice the tips above to improve. Are you stuck with a leader who isn’t humble? Try to role model humility yourself – it might catch on. Not working? Luckily, there are other ways to enhance your well-being, including your psychological capital. If you’d like to learn more, check out our course, which covers everything you need to know about achieving your goals the sustainable way.
This post was originally published on December 13, 2020.