Leadership: humble thyself

Leadership: humble thyself


Tis the season to muse on the gifts of wonder, seasonal colors, Salvation Army bell ringers, evergreen Christmas trees, and helping the less fortunate. As I roll up the year, it becomes useful to evaluate where I have been and where I’ll be going with my business. Family, friends, clients and neighbors have supported me; depositing gifts of kindness, insight, admonition, counsel, and faith.

I have viewed my work as a two-way street; clients helping me as I help them. I strive for self-examination, evaluation, gratefulness and humility – learning every step of the way.

What, humility?

Humility appears as an attribute that places others first before oneself; demonstrating a modest view of self to meet people’s needs. It places fame, ego, arrogance, and the pursuit of riches behind. It beckons the ancient proverb…”When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom”. 

Humility admits non-perfection and searches for better workplace solutions with employees who interact everyday with customers. Humble leaders seek wisdom from those wiser (not necessarily those with a higher rank) and seek support from the stronger. Being others centric, they serve their best for the best in people. They see potential in others and appreciate the less visible contributors in the organization.

As I reflected upon my managerial tenure, there were successful leaders who uniquely demonstrated humility a variety of ways. Their humble thinking and actions influenced my leadership style. It appeared as:

·      The appreciative CEO who called every employee on his/her work anniversary commending commitment and performance

·      The Senior Executive who personally changed an airline reservation for me to fly home to a sick family (just to save a few hours)

·      The sensitive Group Senior VP who requested a “nudge” when his words turned profane and disrespectful

·      The President of a Fortune 500 company who publically praised the quality work of an unpopular department

·      A company President who personally apologized after a strong disagreement on policy

·      The Regional Manager who rolled-up his sleeves and invested time in his employees. He was committed to spend countless hours training and teaching. No task was beneath him.

·      A patient Senior Executive who allowed me to learn from foolish mistakes and grow in my leadership role

·      Selfless Managers who sought the regarded opinions of hard working 1st line employees

·      Managers who sanctioned employees to deliver the highest quality; playing to employee strengths, not focusing on their weaknesses

·      An organization who resolutely believed in using company financial resources to help the homeless


Humility is a character attribute to guide, serve and lead. It’s the ultimate model trait and selfless gift found in the child sleeping in the manger and the man he grew up to be.

Humility is a leadership game changer – at work and in life.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah to all and may you have a joyous, peaceful, and humble 2017!