The Role Of Humility In Confident Leadership
During the length of your career as an executive leader, you will most likely have seasons of extreme confidence when you seem to be cruising along and doing everything right. Then suddenly, you’ll encounter some rocky ground that puts you on unsure footing, and you won’t know where it’s safe to step or in which direction to move.
Those moments are very normal, but more than that, they’re crucial. Being a confident leader actually requires having a little bit of humility.
Confident Leadership Is A Balancing Act
Naturally, confidence is fundamental in management. A confident executive presence, which involves having a clear vision and certainty about goals, can create trust and boost credibility. Once a manager has a well-defined objective, they can assemble the team and communicate those objectives to everyone involved. After all, a group will follow their leader on a journey with more optimism if they know there’s a clear destination in mind.
However, some leaders put too high a value on their own opinion. They can then fall into the pit of arrogance, which is detrimental to the success of their team. That’s why humility is a necessary quality for strong leaders. In my experience, some of the best leaders aren’t the smartest people in the room. They are, however, wise enough to harness the brainpower of their collective teams. For example, perhaps you have a rough plan to achieve your goals, but there are some gray areas you aren’t sure how to navigate. If you show humility and ask for advice and input from your team, you’ll receive the proper information to make better choices.
Being modest and encouraging input will lead to your team feeling honored and respected. Being a humble leader will show you believe in your team and that their opinions and knowledge matter. This creates a highly productive and supportive workplace. In fact, a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review found that employees who felt respected were 55% more engaged.
How To Be More Humble
Leaders can show humility in several different ways.
Of course, asking for advice or help is a major step. Another way to be humble is to master the art of listening. When in meetings, put your phone or other potential distractions away so you can dedicate 100% of your focus to the conversation. Make eye contact with speakers and focus on what they’re communicating. Once you’ve absorbed the information, ask follow-up questions that demonstrate you’re interested in knowing more. Do not interrupt unless necessary.
Be mindful of how you communicate. Use polite, courteous language when assigning projects or discussing your team’s performance. Show appreciation for an employee’s effort, even when edits need to be made. Give credit where it’s due, and acknowledge the contributions of everyone involved at the end of a project.
The doubts that pop up in your head as a leader can be completely normal. In fact, they can make you a better leader because they force you to ask questions and examine issues that an overconfident person might overlook or ignore. Humility in day-to-day interactions with your team will garner better interpersonal relationships, teamwork and decision-making. It will also help you achieve the end goals in which you are most confident.
This article has previously been featured on Forbes