Stay Humble to Stay Effective
True leadership is about humility and service, not ego and status; it's about lifting others up, remembering our roots, and leading from conviction.
WRITTEN BY: ADAM DANYAL
We all know leaders who have let success go to their heads. Early accomplishments inflate their ego and self-importance. Before long, they are snapping their fingers for coffee and demanding the presidential suite.
Intoxicated by status, their need for more authority and rewards spirals out of control. Some leaders even come to believe they reached the C-suite entirely on their own merit. They forget the teachers, mentors, colleagues, family, bosses, and chance opportunities that opened doors for them. Or the hard-working team that executes their vision daily.
This self-aggrandizement erodes trust. When leaders become enamored with status, they expect privilege, recognition, and special treatment. The favored parking spot, that not-on-the-menu food request, the private airport lounge. Small things that add up.
Such leaders miss the fact that leadership provides special status by definition. The workspace, compensation, and perks are rewards for the responsibility that comes with the job. Great leaders never forget where they came from. They remain grateful.
So stay humble. Study Level 5 leadership theory was first described by renowned researcher Jim Collins. It found the best leaders blend deep humility with intense professional commitment. Their ambition fuels team success, not personal glory.
Humility requires honesty. Admit when you’re wrong. Learn from subordinates. Seek critical feedback. Share credit and deflect praise. Make ethics and service central to your leadership brand.
Listen more than you speak. Show vulnerability. Eat last, as they say in the Marines. Demonstrate you serve the team before yourself. Remember the sacrifices of those who got you here.
Your legacy relies on lifting others up, not putting yourself on a pedestal. Stay in touch with your humanity. Let humility elevate your leadership.
In the words of leadership expert John Maxwell, “A great leader's courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” Lead from conviction, not ego. Stay humble. Serve others. This mindset builds teams that change the world. What legacy will you leave?
From our Leadership Bookshelf:
WRITTEN BY: JULIA DANYAL
In Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic tale “The Little Prince”, a young traveler learns lessons about leadership and life from the characters he encounters. Though a children's novella on the surface, The Little Prince offers profound wisdom about staying humble, leading with compassion, and serving others. Here are some key takeaways on humility that leaders can learn from the prince's journey.
Here are some key takeaways:
Lead with wisdom and truth, not by ordering others around. The little prince gently yet firmly corrects the king, who lords power over his subjects without serving their needs.
Focus on what's essential. The prince realizes that authority and titles are less important than forging real connections. He sees beyond surface appearances.
Remain open-minded and curious. The little prince's humble openness allows him to learn from the rose, fox and pilot, gaining insights into love, friendship, and what matters most.
Take responsibility for those you lead. The prince takes it upon himself to remove baobab sprouts daily, tending to his tiny planet conscientiously. He asks the pilot for guidance when he cannot solve problems alone.
Stay in touch with your inner child. The little prince retains wonder and imagination despite his responsibilities. He sees with his heart as well as his eyes. This humility helps him educate the grown-ups he encounters.
While simple, The Little Prince offers profound lessons. Leading with compassion, curiosity, and principle trumps ego. Staying humble allows us to serve others while pursuing our purpose in life. We can aspire to wisdom like the little prince.