How Humble Leadership Really Works
As a leader, you have one task only: to empower your associates so they can show the very best stored in them.
Even Aristotle said: “He who cannon be a good follower cannot be a good leader,” meaning that a leader has a significant role when it comes to molding followers and creating new leaders.
After all, even today, people believe that leaders are not only born – they can be created as well.
However, the world of power is a challenging place, and one needs to know how to achieve a goal by supporting people. Moreover, one needs to know how to enable them in order to reach their true potential.
Although leadership is old discipline, the human race started exploiting the thrilling world of leadership and management just a few decades ago. During that research, it was established that there is no one-style-fits-all leadership style. There are many leadership styles.
Diversity in leadership style is what makes this field so thrilling and vivid; everyone can develop its leadership style based on:
- Leaders personality
- External factors
That being said, many are well-aware of management and how the traditional management style works. Basically, it’s all about vertical hierarchy.
What does vertical hierarchy even mean? You don’t need Business Admin 101 to understand this definition, because it’s rather self-explanatory. Vertical hierarchy holds an emphasis on formal and transactional relationship, next to professional distance.
In a nutshell, vertical hierarchy works when there is strict guidance from the organization’s chief.
But does it really has to be like that? There are many examples of leadership in business.
Because the business area is so vivid and viable, it makes it logical that different leadership styles were tested with people directly.
Let’s see how the business environment can evoke leaders.
LEADERSHIP AND BUSINESS
The truth is that leadership can be found in everyone, in some percent, at least.
You, as a leader, have to evoke that skill. Yes, some scientists are still arguing on – are leaders born or are they made? Regardless of this philosophy, yet they agree on one thing: leadership lives.
Lately, one of the most common questions among the business community is how can leadership managers to boost their employees’ performance and how humble leadership fits in their vision.
In recent years, it has become clear to everyone that companies always promote leadership as one of the most desirable skills in their employment.
Moreover, business schools support this approach and demand it from their students to show:
- Solution-oriented mindset
Every point listed above can be easily united under one skill: leadership.
But, since every person is different, does it mean that we like and dislike different leadership styles?
Simply said, yes.
People tend to love their work if they are treated well, respected and if they have the freedom to make their own decision. Moreover, people flourish when there is no fear.
However, some people tend to lose track of what is essential for personalities in general and tend to focus only on things that can be measured, such as performances.
Being goal-oriented can quickly go from wrong to bad.
Therefore, it is crucial that you try to bring the best in your employees.
Maybe you should think about a specific leadership style, such as humble leadership.
Modest Leadership In A Nutshell
- Stability in their relationship with other employees
- Certain self-discipline in communication with others
- Devotion to respect towards colleagues, no matter what their position or role is
- Capacity to understand other people’s weaknesses and understand them
- Willingness to speak about their own limitations
“A great man is always willing to be little.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Business is about making profits. That is the final outcome regardless of the size of the company, its vision, and its mission. After all, profit is the fuel that keeps things running.
Moreover, paycheck can’t be served without validation, right?
But for a company to perform good, sell, and earn, it needs to have employees who are capable of taking control and achieving goals.
But, if leaders put too much on control and put all of their energy into micromanagement and creating a fearful atmosphere, positive results may be gone. It’s important to keep people motivated, energized, passionate, and above all, purposeful so that they can put the very best of them into the work.
Most of the successful managers these days think that a top-down management model should be improved and that some things are missing now.
Moreover, a Harvard Business Review states that by not focusing enough on the employees and putting too much energy into controlling everything, leaders are only making everything worse and it order how that to change, it’s important to assist people in finding their purpose, motivation, and energy so that they can be the best versions of themselves in the office and in other aspects of life.
This idea can’t be put in reality if managers miss adopting the humble mindset of a servant leader. In short, employees need:
- Space to grow;
- Area to explore; and
- Emotional support.
To build a structure where employees are feeling free and willing to challenge themselves, managers have to do their jobs: managers are obliged to ask the right questions, that can only come by understanding and listening.
This is precisely how humble leadership is built by trying to be humble and trying to learn from employees continually. It seems that this approach is far beneficial and useful than emphasizing hierarchy.
Dan Cable stated in his book Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do, that Gary Hamel (one of the world’s most significant and globally-appreciated business thinkers) told him “Show me what you can get done when you have no budget and no authority. That’s how you know you’re a leader.”
Once you make people your priority, they will make work their priority, because they will finally have ownership over it.
So, take on the humble an appreciated mindset of a servant leader. As a servant leader, you will be able to perfectly know how to work with your people and how to benefit from heir experience and knowledge.
Read on to learn how to become a servant leader with these simple steps.
Before we give you the tools for mastering humble leadership and explain to you how it REALLY works, let’s learn the basics.
LEADERSHIP AND HUMILITY
In order to understand what humble leadership is, it would be easier to understand what humble leaders are.
From there, you will catch on the humble leadership philosophy.
That being said, humble leaders are disciplined and 24/7 consistent in their ‘humble’ treatment of others.
Also, humble leaders are known for treating everyone with respect.
Simply said, humble leaders, will treat you equally regardless of your title, role, and position. Besides, they fully understand their limitations and are not scared to talk about them. Humble leaders are always willing to recognize their weaknesses – they have that much confidence.
This willingness to admit their weaknesses is what makes humble leaders so powerful.
However, in business management, humility is often misused when someone wants to describe weakness.
Therefore, being humble was equal to being weak. Luckily, this mindset slowly but surely leaves the business area and creates space for different, and even better, practice. Interestingly, people tend to use the word ‘humility’ wrong.
By definition, humility is ‘…someone who spends his life taking care of others shows humility.’
Although humility is probably not your first choice when it comes to leadership skills, you should rethink, because recent studies showed that humility today is one of the most vital traits of a good leader.
Moreover, its a mandatory characteristic of any highly successful leader. Therefore, humble leaders:
- practice humility
- empower people in their surrounding
- don’t see failures, but challenges
- they develop team spirit
- they live unity
Each of these traits leads to more productive and happier employees. In the end, productive and happy employees create more profit.
HOW HUMBLE LEADERSHIP REALLY WORKS
Leadership improves over the years. Methods that are outdated and non-effective are changed with newer ones which are more productive, delivering better outcomes.
That being said, top-down leadership is ancient history. Besides, top-down leadership is counterproductive. By focusing on power, control, and end goals can lead to numerous issues.
Neglecting people in your organization is never a sign of a healthy organization.
But, if you choose to focus on people, you will reach any goal. Of course, people have to be appropriately managed.
To put it bluntly, humble leaders are experts at courage, humility, and communicating effectively with people who think that they hold no power.
This is how a culture of learning is built and maintained. With that, an engaging atmosphere encourages followers to give their best and become the very best they can.
Here are two hacks on how to put humble leadership in use:
Be an active listener
Yes, it sounds simple, but it’s effective nevertheless. Don’t just ask employees what’s wrong. Don’t tell them what or how to do instead of what they’re already doing. ASK them what you can do to help them do their job better.
People love to talk about their ideas.
Moreover, they love it when someone respects their ideas, as well. So, appreciate what they are saying, encourage them to put their ideas in use, and empower them to bring more of them in their everyday business activities.
CREATE LOW-RISK SPACE
Creating a low-risk space enables employees to experiment with their ideas.
By allowing this space, you are actually motivating your colleagues their limits and expand their boundaries. They will thank you because they will realize that they know much more.
Just be humble. Yes, being and remaining humble is a must if you want to achieve the leadership height and balance with employees.
As the practice showed us, leaders tend to miss on the true value of their charges.
However, when leaders are humble, demonstrate ‘walk the talk,’ show respect, and ask their employees how they can improve something within an organization, the outcomes can be mind-blowing.
Because humble leadership enables bottom-up leadership, results are present. Compared to other leadership styles, humble leadership asks for no extraordinary expenses or countless training sessions.
Moreover, you can test it immediately and put it to use. Therefore, creating a servant leader is what takes the least from the company, but gives the most of profit. But how to recognize a servant leader.
ACKNOWLEDGING A SERVANT LEADER
To acknowledge a servant leader is not demanding, as long as you know what you should be looking for. So, a servant leader has to possess the following traits:
- Appreciates diverse opinions: everyone’s work and contribution matters.
- Creates a culture based on trust: having a well-built trust is the first step toward a reliable organization.
- Develops leadership in others: many believe that leaders can be created by example and by putting them in challenging situations. The idea here is that they have to deal with the problem, while you monitor them and coach them.
- Shows the interests in employees’ problems outside the work: sharing is caring. Therefore, going that one mile further means a lot. Real people have real issues, and they extend from the work area. By merely asking employees how is their life going, will do wonders eventually.
- Encourages: stretching the comfort zone is great, as long as it’s safe. People need support to step into the unknown. However, the line is thin between fear and challenge, so make sure that you know the limit. You want to encourage your employees and not scare them.
- Walks the talk: leading by example is sometimes the only way to engage people. For example, if you talk about saving the Planet and regularly using plastic items, people won’t believe that you are passionate about your ideals. Moreover, they will think of you as a fake servant. That being said, always demonstrate and live what you are saying.
- Always has a mind in the long-term: invest more in education if you want to go the distance. As an African proverb says:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. “
- Acts with humility
Basically, a servant mindset is the key to help people feel purposeful, energized, and above anything else motivated so they can bring their best game to work.
Since there are numerous ways to do so, it’s crucial to recognize what is most needed for your employees. Make sure that you start from there.
If you see that your employees are quiet and not-opinionated, maybe they are not custom to being asked how they can improve and operation or a process; if that’s the case, you should think about incorporating different encouragement techniques to engage them in the talk and support them in telling diverse opinions.
Moreover, they have to understand that it’s OK and safe to share their expertise.
This way, they will be more open and willing to make a mistake by sharing their knowledge.
Don’t forget that everyone knows: To err is human, to edit is divine.
A real leader is not a leader because of the title, or for being in charge. No, the real leader is passionate about change, about leading the change, and about enabling others to see how amazing they are and what they can achieve.
Servant leader understands that it is not about the leader, but about others.
HOW HUMBLE LEADERSHIP REALLY WORKS – KEY TAKEAWAYS
Humility is not about your position, your place within the organization, or your work experience. Humility reflects the personal temperament of your heart.
So, you can be the CEO and be humble. On the other hand, you may hold an entry position and be ages away from humility.
Also, you can opt for the third version: be among those with formal status in the organization and be humble or prideful at the same time. This is possible. You can hold a hg position and be humble. Moreover, this can give better results than expected.
Overall, humble leaders live for others, and their progress an development. Also, humble never means insecure, so don’t mix those two.
Humility is directly linked to strength, while insecurity is connected with weaknesses and fear.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that a humble leader never struggles with some form with uncertainties, but they instead recognize that humility is based on strength rather than in weakness.
Since humility is directly linked to strength, it comes as no surprise that some of the world’s greatest leaders and businessmen are constant humble leaders. On the other hand, if something gives results, you should keep doing it?
Of course, great humble practice in leadership doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try different approaches and test new methods. No, it simply means that you should work on upgrading something that already delivers.
After all, “we are what we repeatedly do”.
And if something gives extraordinary results, keep that approach. Don’t change it, just upgrade it – make it better.
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