I recently presented a Keynote titled “The 8 Attributes of Character Defined in Great Leaders”. The talk was not intended to identify past and present Great Leaders, although there are many, rather it was designed to provide information so individuals could evaluate their current character and consider the adjustments required to achieve the character needed to become a Great Leader.
In the talk, I identified “Humility” as being one of the attributes found in Great Leaders. Leaders are typically those who have ambition, are talented and confident when making decisions and interacting with people. But I bet when most of us think of leaders, we don’t typically describe them with the word “humility” or use the term, “humble.” If they did, it might not be viewed as a compliment.
One of the toughest things about teaching and speaking on leadership topics is the conscience guilt that follows you around when you are not following your own words, principles, and practices you teach or talk about. This is something I really appreciate. Because it drives me to always look at ways I can increase my influence and become a better leader.
As I continue to evaluate my leadership and my approach to people, problems, and solutions, I find myself dealing with a little of arrogance and pride. I believe I would consider myself just a bit arrogant. Well, maybe even a bit more than a bit, depending on who you talk to.
So I have been focusing on how I lessen my arrogance and replace it with more humility? The identified 14 principles that help me to lessen my arrogance and focus on my humility. It is a work in progress, and I often slip back one or two steps. But I feel it’s working.
- Don’t think of someone else when reading this blog.
- Recognize your arrogance.
- Know what you don’t know and admit it.
- Step in someone’s else’s shoes that you interact with on a daily basis and those who interact periodically.
- Dig deep into not so positive feedback.
- Acknowledge those who helped you get where you are or where you are going.
- Shut up and listen!
- Engage in conversations by asking questions.
- Walk around looking for things to celebrate.
- Quickly admit when you are wrong.
- Be quick to forgive and show grace to others.
- Be purposeful in speaking well about others.
- Take a seat at the lower table.
- Focus on strengthening relationships, not just results.
The great college basketball coach John Wooden often told his players, “Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be thankful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”
C.S. Lewis said this, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
I believe humility is the antidote to arrogance. Arrogance will cause a person to fall and ultimately fail. Humility will cause a person to rise as they fail. People want to follow humble leaders.
So I end with a bit of a hope……May you make an everyday choice to lessen your arrogance and give credit where credit is due and acknowledge others for your success. May you admit when you are wrong and know what you don’t know.
If we can honestly accomplish this, then we can continue our growth as leaders. But never forget this, IT’s NOT ABOUT YOU………..IT REALLY ISN’T!!!