When we discuss qualities that a great leader possesses, we often think they are confidence, intelligence, the ability to inspire, and other major qualities.
But we fail to realize that some soft skills are not considered as important as they should be. To succeed as great leaders, leaders should focus on their soft skills and practice humility, and possess major leadership traits.
Humble leadership looks after the same issue and introduces a type of leadership where humility is a non-compromisable ability a successful leader must possess.
Humility is the most important characteristic needed to promote collaboration in teamwork. Experts say that the higher you are appointed in the organization, the more humble you should be.
💎What Is Humble Leadership?
The concept of humble leadership presents two connected meanings. One is that humble leaders are aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
They know what skills they should be proud of and what skills they should work on to improve them further.
Besides this, humble leadership means that leaders believe in self-growth and desire to keep learning constantly.
They also possess strong listening skills and focus on promoting collaboration among the team members.
They are ready to accept their mistakes and acknowledge that they are wrong. They are sympathetic towards their employees and admit they are equal to them, not superior to them.
🎭Qualities that Humble Leaders Possess
Though humble leaders possess all the leadership qualities that every great leader possesses, what makes them unique is they have sound humility in their leadership and character.
When the major leadership qualities are mixed with humility, it drives humble leadership. Let’s look at such qualities below:
They Know Themselves
Humble leaders know themselves. They know their strengths and weaknesses. They are aware of their personality, characteristics, and skills that they possess.
They know how to take action based on their strengths and when to ask for help from others. They believe there’s always room for improvement, but they also know what, when, and how to improve.
Humble leaders are also known as serving leaders. They don’t think they are appointed to rule a group of people.
They think they are there to help people, serve them, and provide them resources and guidance necessary to fulfill specific objectives. They do not focus on themselves; rather, they focus on collective growth and performance.
Willingness to Admit When They are Wrong
Humble leaders admit their mistakes and create space for everyone to deliver ideas and act freely.
They admit their self-makes and appreciate their employees if they have performed with more excellence than themselves.
They aren’t afraid to appreciate their employees over their qualities. They are willing to ask for help even from their employees to enhance their skills and qualities.
Desire to Learn
Humble leaders admit that they are not always perfect or know the best way forward. They have a student mentality where they constantly try to learn and improve their skills and leadership qualities.
They know they have their weaknesses, blind spots, and shortcomings, along with having great leadership qualities. Also, through this approach, they promote a learning culture in their working community which, in the end, will benefit the team as a whole.
Humble leaders focus on inclusivity and possess skills to draw contributions from different sources.
They involve all the team members, including themselves, in the working process and promote a positive work culture where everybody gets a chance to contribute to the goal of their organization.
This promotes innovation among the members and increases performance and productivity within the organization.
Lead By Example
Humble leaders do not lead with the mentality that they are the boss of the people. They lead with examples that their personality, confidence, and actions show. People follow them with their hearts and try to teach the traits and qualities that they have.
They don’t just lead the group of people. They also inspire and influence them. In short, leaders lead the group of people from within, and people also follow them by their wishes.
Ability to Disclose What They Don’t Know
Humble leaders are not embarrassed or ashamed or afraid to disclose things they don’t know or things they lack knowledge about. They confidently ask others, including their subordinates, questions regarding their problems, shortcomings, and decisions.
They not only ask questions or ask for help, but they also make their blindspots visible to their employees and show them how to work with humility.
They set an example for their employees and co-workers, indicating how humility benefits the leader, employees, and the organization.
Possess Reserves of Inner-strengths
Humble leaders know and admit their weaknesses, but it does not mean they have all weaknesses and no strengths.
Indeed, they have a lot of strengths and confidence to lead and motivate the group, but they are still humble and love to learn. They are confident on the inside and humble on the outside.
Effective leaders possess solid listening skills where they not only impose their thoughts and ideas on their employees but also listen to them.
Effective listening skills help leaders find out innovative solutions for various problems and generate more ideas. It also helps in understanding the employees, solving their problems, improving their qualities, and benefiting the organization.
They Understand and Manage their Limitations
Humble leaders understand their limitations. Instead of worrying about those limitations, they work to overcome them. Apart from this, they don’t rely on themselves to solve problems.
They surround themselves with people having complementary skills who can help them remove barriers that their limitations are putting them on their path.
Humble leaders acquire their positions with a serving mindset to genuinely make changes in people’s lives and help achieve their goals.
That’s why they don’t manipulate their duties with things like deceptions and self-gains. From inside, they are what they are outside.
are the same person in every situation of their lives, in public and in private. This adds value to their performance and motivates others to be genuine and authentic.
No Fear of Asking for Help
One of the great qualities of leaders with humility is that they are not hesitant to ask for help from others when they really need it.
Since they know themselves and admit when they are weak in something, they openly ask for help from their co-workers and even from their subordinates.
This makes them more advanced and humble. Besides the leader’s growth, other people in the organization also benefit from this nature and develop their skills.
Focus on Earning Trust
Humble leaders understand the importance of trust and loyalty in successful leadership. Hence they don’t lose people’s trust and never involve themselves in an activity that ruins their trust.
They try to earn their trust and loyalty through their humble attitude, genuinity, charisma, intelligence, and ability to take their fellow being out of problematic conditions.
🧠Benefits of Humble Leadership
Now, let’s look at the benefits that an organization adopting a humble leadership structure enjoys:
🗳️Compassionate Leadership Structure
Since humble leaders know they are not always perfect in everything, they don’t expect perfection from their subordinates too.
This allows team members to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow further. This promotes a culture of sympathy and a sense of fellow feeling among the members.
Employees, leaders, and the organization can benefit from this work culture to improve their skills, knowledge, and production.
🗳️Builds Team Cooperation
In most types of leadership, especially in traditional leadership, leaders think they are superior to their employees and better than their employees in everything.
This not only makes leaders unaware of their weaknesses but also blocks the road to cooperation in the team.
In the humble leadership style, when leaders consider themselves equal to their employees, they actually open a door for open communication and collaboration among the team members. It also develops cooperation between the leader and employees.
🗳️Makes Leader More Accessible
In other types of leadership, employees feel hesitant to approach their leaders and ask for help as they are a bit authoritative in nature.
However, in a humble leadership style, the leaders are humble and polite with their subordinates. This makes humble leaders more approachable and accessible to their subordinates.
When leaders keep an eye on their deficiencies, they become more comfortable entrusting and assigning tasks to their employees, giving them the independence to take free action. They promote the team’s culture of giving and receiving feedback, including the leader.
They let their employees take the initiative and provide space to learn and make mistakes. This motivates employees to work harder, take the initiative, and add value to increase the organization’s productivity.
🗳️Helps gain influence
People feel more comfortable and give respect those who are humble and honest. Humble leaders are more influential.
They attract good people, gain their loyalty, and earn more confidence and respect than leaders who lead through their power and egos.
This influence earned through humility makes leaders more confident that they can benefit themselves and their subordinates.
🗳️Yields Better Results
Humble leaders keep on learning constantly and advise their team members to constantly learn new skills and acquire knowledge.
They create space for employees to learn, make mistakes, and develop their skills. They let their team members and themselves take the initiative and generate innovative ideas.
All these characteristics ultimately yield better results for the organization, leaders, and employees.
Humble leaders believe that it does not matter where a good idea comes from, from the top or junior level.
They allow everybody to discuss their ideas and have different perspectives. They champion the best ideas among the different ideas and utilize them to accomplish their short-term and long-term company goals.
This promotes innovation in the company when leaders respect the differences of opinions and welcome new ideas.
⭕How to Promote Humble Leadership
There is not a single step or a fixed process to promote humility in leadership, but of course, there are some key methods the organizations can take help from to implement humble leadership. Let’s discuss some methods:
Humble leaders learn to be humble toward their employees. Being humble means several things. It means directing them properly and providing resources without showing their official authority.
It also means giving them opportunities to grow and enhance their skill sets. Also, more importantly, it means that leaders give constructive criticism of their employees’ mistakes rather than shouting at them and putting fearful covers on their faces.
Create low-risk spaces for employees.
One of the most fundamental things humble leaders do is create low-risk spaces for their employees to experiment with their ideas and innovations.
The leaders don’t put barriers for their subordinates by applying formal powers to them. They let them act independently and work on their ideas.
Leaders don’t just let their employees do things independently but also ask how they can help them improve their imagination, innovation performance, and skills.
When employees perform their duties and fulfill objectives, humble leaders give them credit for their hard work.
They appreciate the contributions made by their employees and the responsibility that they showed in their actions.
They also allow everyone to come up with innovative ideas and give them credit if the ideas are used for the company’s growth and achieving its goals
Ask for Help
Humble leaders, when they run out of ideas, do not just pretend as if they know everything. Rather, they consult their teammates and try to find ways to tackle the situation.
They understand that a team grows in the best way when the team works with collaboration and cooperation.
The leaders are willing to help and take help from others when needed, keeping their egos apart.
Accepting mistakes and realizing their shortcomings is the most important quality of humble leaders. Humble leaders believe that no person is perfect and everybody has scope for growth and improvement.
They recognize their weaknesses and admit they are doing wrong when they make mistakes. They also allow their subordinates to point out their mistakes and shortcomings without letting their ego become a barrier in this way.
Allowing feedback in the working community is an essential element of good leadership. The leaders and the employees share feedback regarding their positive and negative sides. This makes everyone work more effectively in light of the feedback they received for their previous work.
This also helps leaders understand their workplaces as well as themselves.
Listen to Others
Leaders who listen to their employees and show concern for their problems develop trust among the group members.
That’s why leaders show interest in their employees’ ideas and let them complete their conversations without interruption.
They not only listen to others but also entertain and discuss others’ ideas and look at how they can be implemented to accomplish their aims and objectives.
They calculate possible outcomes of implementing the ideas and estimate how they can benefit the organization’s objectives.
Provide a Helping Hand
Humble leaders are humble towards their subordinates and are always ready to lend a helping hand to them without interrupting their egos in between.
They provide resources, tools, and humble guidance to help employees improve their skills and abilities.
They also try to understand their employees’ problems and concerns and help them solve them. This allows employees to work efficiently with free-mindedness.
Humble leadership promotes accountability in the work culture and teaches leaders to take responsibility for their actions and decisions.
While making important decisions and performing activities, they keep in mind that they need to be accountable for each step they take.
They also motivate their team members to be accountable for their actions. This creates humility and a sense of responsibility in leaders and employees, along with polishing their qualities.
As discussed above, since humble leaders are humble towards their employees and consider themselves equal to their employees, they treat them respectfully. They respect everybody’s suggestions, ideas, and points of view.
They don’t make communication difficult through unuseful restrictions. Talk to the leader. They remain accessible to their employees and help them in situations of need. They are respectful in entertaining everybody’s questions and concerns
Appreciate for Hard Work
To be humble and empathetic towards people working under the leaders, the leaders understand their subordinates and acknowledge their hard work. Employees feel comfortable and motivated when their hard work is appreciated.
Also, humble leaders politely point out and correct the mistakes their subordinates make rather than criticize constantly. This gives opportunities for everybody and helps bring out the best in them.
Most times, humble leadership is confused with a lack of confidence which is just not true. Humble leaders are self-confident, but they also know their weaknesses. They believe that everybody has their strengths and weaknesses.
They make use of their strengths and work on their weaknesses. This makes them capable of making the right choices and putting in the right effort according to their personality.
Humble leadership creates strong team collaboration, improves employee efficiency, and increases productivity to a great extent.
Since decision-making and important affairs are looked after by the leader, making everybody involved in the process, the leader makes sound decisions. In contrast to this method, other methods of leadership just rely upon one person and his/her self-esteem, which can affect the team-cooperation and performance.
Practicing humility in leadership is not a new concept in leadership. Many successful leaders have added humility to their leadership earlier in history.
Many political and social leaders faced some or other kinds of insurgencies against them for leading just with pride, self-esteem, and ego. Also, leaders cannot make the right choices if they don’t add at least a little humility to their leadership.
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Carol T. Mahaffey is a certified American Author And a creator of Theleaderboy. Carol is a Self-Taught Marketer with 10+ Years of Experience. She brings her decade of experience to her current role, where she is dedicated to writing books, blogs, and articles, inspiring the world on how to become a better Leader.