Marks of a Humble Leader

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Some of the most successful leaders in history display humility as one of their inspirational qualities. They;

1. Are grateful for the contribution of others and give them credit for their success.

2. Are aware that life is fragile and that they are mortal.

3. Have a deep gratitude for the gift of life.

4. Are aware of their strengths without being arrogant or grandiose.

5. Gladly seek out and act on accurate feedback from others.

6. Are lifelong learners. (Especially when they interact with other cultures).

7. Practice detachment from praise. (Sometimes living with success is harder than failure).

8. Refuse thoughts of entitlement. (“I deserve this” is not a part of their thinking).

9. Take their mission but not themselves seriously. (Passion and fierce resolve is also a part of a great but humble leader).

10. Laugh at themselves without being self-denigrating.

11. Live more from the soul than the ego. (See the blog postings on the ego and the soul and the Struggle with Self-Importance).

12. Humble leaders know their worth so they don’t have to go around trying to prove it to others (Submitted by a reader to my blog)

The following quotes cast humility in its true light.

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest may err.” -Mahatma Gandhi

“If you consider the careers of the people on Wall Street, the ones who were humble lasted and prospered; the ones who were self-centered and thought they had the whole answer often made mistakes. More than half of the mistakes made on Wall Street are because someone thought they knew it all. They didn’t have humility.” Sir John Templeton.

“How can you be humble if you are always paying attention to yourself? True humility excludes self-consciousness, but false humility intensifies our awareness of ourselves to such a point that we are crippled, and can no longer make any movement or perform any action without putting to work a whole complex mechanism of apologies and formulas of self-accusation.” Thomas Merton.

So what do you think? What other character traits have you seen in humble people?

How can a person be humble when they have to market themselves, self-promote, and develop their brand?

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About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
This entry was posted in Humility and Inspirational Leadership and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Marks of a Humble Leader

  1. I’m still learning from you, while I’m making my way to the top as well. I certainly enjoy reading everything that is written on your blog.Keep the posts coming. I enjoyed it!

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