Humble Leaders Do These Things


If you’ve read this blog any length of time, heard me speak, been involved in any of my leadership development programs, or certainly if we’ve worked together in a coaching or consulting context, you know how huge I think vulnerability is as it relates to leadership, culture, and just being a human being.

One huge obstacle that all of us struggle with to one degree or another is pride. It’s an ongoing battle, and it’s one that we’re sure to lose if we don’t take intentional steps each and every day to orient our lives and leadership around serving others rather than ourselves.

What does that look like in practice? What do humble leaders do? What behaviors differentiate humble leaders? I’m so glad you asked.

Humble leaders listen first.

And not just in the “I’m going to listen first so that I can say I listened to you and then I’m going to say what I’ve been thinking this whole time” way. Actual, real, deep listening.

[bctt tweet=”Humble leaders listen first. #leadership #companyculture #hr”]

Humble leaders don’t insist on their way.

Humble leaders don’t blindly accept the ideas of others, but they also don’t stubbornly insist on always having the final say or getting their way.

Humble leaders aren’t easily offended.

Why? Because their ego isn’t tweaked any time someone doesn’t give them the respect they feel they deserve, or isn’t as nice as they think they should have been, or whatever.

[bctt tweet=”Humble leaders aren’t easily offended. #leadership #companyculture #hr”]

Humble leaders genuinely understand how much more room they have to grow in the area of humility.

The moment you start to believe that you’re super humble is the very moment you can be assured that you’re not.

[bctt tweet=”The moment you think you’re super humble is the moment you can be sure you’re not. #leadership”]

Humble leaders tend to have a higher EQ.

Why? Because they’re not so focused on themselves that they miss everything going on around them.

Humble leaders are able to put others’ interests and needs ahead of their own.

It’s easier for them to focus on the good of the whole rather than fixating on what they want or what they need or what they feel like they deserve, etc.

[bctt tweet=”Humble leaders are able to put the needs of others ahead of their own. #leadership #companyculture”]

Humble leaders are always learning.

Now I didn’t say they’re always gaining knowledge. I said they’re always learning. They’re always growing. They’re humble enough to see weaknesses and areas where they need development and then take the initiative to learn and grow. Arrogant leaders can go to conferences and read articles and books and email stuff to their teams all day long, but are they actually learning and growing? Probably not.

Humble leaders are sincerely grateful.

Rather than having a sense of entitlement, they’re grateful for their teammates, their teammates’ time, talents, and so on.

Humble leaders can accept difficult feedback without feeling the need to get defensive.

Remember earlier when we mentioned that humble leaders weren’t easily offended? Same general principle here.

Humble leaders are quick to take ownership of things.

They’re not worried about what others are going to think, and they’re not concerned about their ego taking a hit if people know they goofed.

Humble leaders ask for help.

Why? Because they’re humble and human enough to know they need it!

Humble leaders say “I don’t know.”

Why? Well…because they don’t know something and aren’t threatened by others knowing they don’t know something.

[bctt tweet=”Humble leaders aren’t afraid to say ‘I don’t know.’ #leadership #companyculture #hr”]

Humble leaders are quick to praise their teammates.

And not in the “I know I’m supposed to recognize my team when they do something so I’m going to recognize them in front of people so it looks like I’m recognizing them” kind of way. How about sincere gratitude from a heart that genuinely has as its first instinct to deflect praise toward the team?

These are just a few. There are certainly more. Got any you’d add? List them below!


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