Lessons From the Field: The Value in humility - Part 1

Updated: Dec 11, 2019

“Go to the people. Live among them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. With the best leaders - when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say 'We have done this ourselves'.” - Chinese Proverb.

Our generation will probably go down in history as one that chose the most number of self-obsessed narcissists as leaders, be it the heads of our governments or in our organizations. What does it say about the nature of the world we live in, the systems we are a part of? More importantly, what does it say about the kind of values we have learned to appreciate and look up to?

Let’s get real. Most of us - at least to some extent - see arrogance, self-centeredness and ruthless competitiveness as essential traits to succeed. How often have we pushed back our instinct for niceness, empathy and humility in order to get ahead? But is this the only way? If you were to look at it objectively, what makes for better, more effective leadership?

Multiple studies have shown that humility makes for the best leaders because they are able to create a more open, welcoming and collaborative environment for everyone to work in. They are also more open to consider their own shortcomings and appreciate others’ strengths; which works great in the long term both for them on a personal level and for the entire organization.

Whether you are taking a mid-career break or a short time off for yourself, it’s worth re-evaluating your leadership traits and seeing how you can actively learn to practice humility.

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