Humility: The Crucial Difference Between Good & Great Leaders

humility the crucial difference between good and great leaders

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

C.S. Lewis

That quote is so accurate and impactful it’s almost not necessary to add anything to it, but lets take a deeper dive into what makes humility such a crucial character trait for today’s leaders.

Humility must be a central character trait for progressive leaders for five important reasons:

1.    Humility gives you upside as a leader

2.    It makes you approachable

3.    Your team will want you to succeed

4.    You will be naturally empathetic

5.    It is what allows you to influence others    

Many people think that humility is one of those things that people either do or don’t have. The truth is that it comes much easier for some people than others. There are managers and leaders whose lack of humility seems almost pathological, and others who could learn a lot about how to express their natural humility.

The good news is that genuine expressive humility can be learned, and it will make you a much more effective leader. There are three proven ways to grow your leadership humility:

Be a Constant Learner

  • Being in touch with all you don’t know makes anyone humble
  • It is almost impossible to sound arrogant when you are in “learning mode”
  • You are a “work in progress” as a person and a leader

Get Out of the First-Person Pronoun Business

  • Always referring to themselves is the hallmark of leaders lacking humility
  • Stop using the words “I”, “Me” and “My” so much. Replace them with “We”, “Let’s”, “Us” and “Ours”.

 Give Away Credit

  • Be self-effacing… compliments you give yourself don’t count anyway!
  • Look for ways to make people on your team shine, even if some of the work was yours
  • Be worried about how your people look, not how you look

Those are three best ways to develop authentic and visible humility. You can expect to hear a lot more about the power of humility as a leadership trait in the coming months. The evidence has been piling up that it may well be the most consistent attribute of truly transformational leaders, and… most importantly… that it can be learned. Be progressive and embrace the character trait of humility… it will make you a better leader.


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