A Leadership Style That Breeds Success

In today’s highly-charged environment, humility seems to be under attack. Everywhere you turn, people are screaming louder, tweeting angrier and latching on to brash, boastful behavior. But its easy to see how this unapologetic style shuts down the free flow of communication.

For businesses, where innovation and creativity are a must, keeping lines of communication open is critical. You never know from where that next great idea will come.

Here’s real-life example of why humility has its rewards. Charles, one of my senior-level coaching clients, told me that early in his career, his mentor advised him to be smart enough to be humble rather than always trying to prove how smart he is.

No matter the job level of the person Charles interacts with, his mode of operation is always to be collegial and collaborative. Here are the principles that guide his behavior and his leadership style:

  • He works with people versus them working for him.
  • He demonstrates respect for everyone’s point of view, even when he disagrees.
  • He looks to learn something from everyone, even if it’s simply what their interests and passions are.

To make space for others to share what they know, Charles makes it a point to ask, “What do you think?” “What does your experience say we should do in this case?”

Charles’ “smart-enough-to-be-humble” style helps the people in his organization feel valued. As a result, they’re not afraid to be open and honest when interacting with him.

Are you smart enough to be humble?