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  • Elias Zeekeh, MBA, CPA, CMA

Humble Leadership

Humility is often seen as a weakness in business, but the reality is humility and weakness have nothing to do with each other. In fact, humility actually requires a significant amount of inner strength in order to welcome and accept criticism, as well as to see ones limitations. Humility provides reflectiveness and reflectiveness provides clarity; and clarity helps to avoid excessive self-focus. The arrogant person believes they know all that is needed to know. By having humility of being a “student” not always a “master” this helps a person to learn and grow, and become a more competent leader. Below are four ways to evaluate a leader’s humility:

  1. Is the leader able to handle criticism with dignity, while not resisting or pushing back? This requires a significant degree of self-confidence.

  2. When a leader is being celebrated or is successful at a certain task do they take all the credit? Does the leader recognize the other people and situational factors that contributed to their success?

  3. When in a position of strength is the leader graceful? Arrogance or conceitedness will be displayed itself as immaturity. A leader whom is humble is able to relax in a position of power, and not let the power “get to his or her head”.

  4. Does the leader respect their opponents in competition? Or are they cruel, ruthless, and disrespectful? In some ways competition is a valuable learning opportunity, and can bring out the best in people. To have humility is to recognize this fact, and honor it.

Lastly, it should be stated that these factors should be looked at from a degree standpoint, rather than an absolute standpoint. For example, most people in a position of power will have “the power go to their head” to some degree, but some definitely more than others.

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