The Leadership Minute #1

Starting this week, I am going to be posting a weekly short called “The Leadership Minute.” Each week I will briefly provide what I hope to be thought provoking content and commentary that spans the subject of leadership.

Each week the subject matter will change, and these minutes will cover the content on a very high level. Perhaps serving as an intro/idea to a future blog. Over the first four weeks, we are going to cover what I refer to as the 4 intangibles of successful leadership.

In the first edition of “The Leadership Minute,” we will dive into the first intangible…HUMILITY

First, let’s take a quick look at a simple yet effective definition of humility -> Humility is the quality or condition of being humble; a modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc.

Why is it so important in leadership?

In the real world, the evaluation of leadership is often measured entirely by the outcome. Those who net successful results are deemed as great leaders, and those that are less successful fall somewhere else in the spectrum.

What is often left unsaid, is the process by which the successful leader achieved greatness? How many times did that person strike out, fail, fall short, or run into major road blocks in their individual road to great leadership? The continued effort to perform by that leader is reflective of their perseverance, which is often found in successful leaders. However, most great leaders have endured some horrific failures, and they were humbled by those failures. It was this helped them to become stronger leaders and to better appreciate their ultimate success.

There is no question that some people of great arrogance and/or inflated self image are able to achieve individual success (By their own measure of success of course). This is often seen in pro sports (Terrell Owens, Jay Cutler), hollywood (Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen), business (Top Sales, Engineers, Inventors), and social communities (Think about the nosey neighbor that knows everything about everyone). When you consider the above examples, these personality types destroy franchises, shows, sales teams, businesses, families, and communities with their self serving antics.

As a leader of others, arrogance needs to be replaced with humility. Being humble does not mean that you cannot have self confidence or be acutely aware of your strengths. People who are humble often are very cognizant of their contribution and value, but they don’t feel the need to put themselves ahead of the goal of the team. That very belief is why humility is one key to great leadership.

Are you a Humble Leader?  Thoughts, Tips, and Tricks:

  • Do you constantly feel the need to take credit for your contribution? Try to avoid this behavior, credit given always supersedes credit taken
  • Are you willing to take ownership of your mistakes and learn from them? Great leaders tend to embrace their mistakes as to not repeat them and to improve future performance.
  • Do you recognize whether you are perceived as arrogant? Sometimes, a lack of self awareness can be the difference with an intangible such as humility.  You may believe you are humble and others think you are arrogant.  Perhaps speak with someone you trust and ask their feedback on this.
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4 Responses to The Leadership Minute #1

  1. Tobey Deys says:

    Daniel – you are absolutely right. There is an huge difference between perceived power and leadership excellence. Leaders who embrace humility empower others; they build individual and team strength. They understand that, by doing this, success is found through sharing their own strengths (often built, as you said, upon their own failures), listening to others, and self awareness.
    Humility doesn’t make one a Melvin Milquetoast but rather opens one’s mind to the never-ending potential to learn :-)
    Great post, Daniel – looking forward to #2!

    • Thanks as always for the support Tobey. I just think at times people really overlook the importance of the intangibles. No one enjoys the company of an arrogant, selfish, person. Certainly they don’t want to be led by one.

  2. Freida says:

    Helpful info! I have been hunting for something such as this for a little bit now. Thanks!

  3. Joel Hall says:

    I like what you have to say about humility in leadership. My career has been in dance and choreography. One of the lessons I learned very early on from my great teachers was the lesson of humility. It is easy to lose track of when moving at a 21st. century pace. Humility can also bring quiet time for reflection. Thank you for pointing out one of the most important ingredients in success. Your choice of starting with humility is a great indication of interesting reading.

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