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  • Writer's picturePat Jackson

Humility and Leadership

Humility by its very nature, is most often one of the most understated values and virtues of an effective leader in an organization. Typically, when we think of an effective leader, we think of a vibrant communicator, charismatic presence, and brimming confidence. Truly though, being of service to others and understanding that others need to go before us is not only the foundation of great leadership, but also the first step toward greatness. There is simply no truth and wisdom without humility. Only a fool thinks he is wise, while a wise man knows that he is a fool. Successful people can often lose their way, falling into familiar traps of pride and overconfidence. Having a good dose of humility as an active partner to your other skills serves as a guardrail and fends off arrogance and pride. Humility does not need to be confused with low self-esteem or a diminished ego. You absolutely can fully appreciate the extent of what your particular skills and abilities are while still remaining humble. A quiet confidence that is curious and truth seeking with a healthy dose of self-depreciation is a life well lived for sure. It will also make you a powerful magnet for attracting others with similar values and qualities. "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less." - Pastor Rick Warren While true humility is a tricky concept in an overly confident world dominated by the likes of Kardashians and Trumps, especially on social media, it is not an impossible ideal. St. Augustine (Roman Catholic saint and philosopher) describes humility in this unique way. "Humility is a joyful willingness to share the gifts that you have been given, not out of motivation for oneself, but for the common good for all people." Share these gifts with a complete and honest respect for your own limitations and shortcomings. Accept them but don't dwell on them either. "It was pride that changed Angels into Devils, it is humility that makes men Angels." - St. Augustine

Dr. Jordan Peterson in his best-selling book, 12 Rules For Life, An Antidote To Chaos says this. Rule #9 "Always assume that the person you are listening to might know something that you don't." As leaders in business, a sports team, or a community non-profit, we must lead with the perfect storm of gratitude, humility, and confidence. Listening to the leading edge of humility and understanding and listening to really smart people on our teams is crucial for any organization's success. We should be associating ourselves with bright leaders on our teams and give them the full latitude to tell us what to do. "Humility, I have learned, must never be confused with meekness. Humility is simply being open to the ideas of others." - Simon Sinek

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