The late Zig Ziglar once said, “Humility will open more doors than arrogance ever will,” and we couldn’t agree more. When you stay humble, you are open to other’s ideas, you are willing to accept and improve your weaknesses, and you realize that nothing is permanent, so you work hard to stay in your position.
Being an exceptional leader requires that you continue growing into a better version of yourself. That often starts by realizing that you still have room to grow. To become a more humble leader, who both earns and keeps the respect and trust of your employees, follow this advice from leadership expert Quint Studer.
Get your ego out of the way
Great leaders bring out the best in others. This cannot happen when you’re too attached to your own ideas or convinced you’re the smartest person in the room. Pay attention to when you’re shining the spotlight on yourself and redirect to others. Focus on constant improvement and growth. Remind yourself often of all that you don’t know. That will help you deflate your own ego and move toward humility, which is one of the most crucial qualities a leader can possess.
If you suspect you aren’t a humble leader, it’s absolutely crucial to work on quieting the ego so that you’re open to learning and focused on continuous improvement and growth. A few ways to get in the habit of practicing humility:
- Give others credit by pushing compliments down to the team.
- Never ask your team to do anything you aren’t willing to do yourself.
- Don’t lock yourself in your office; work with the team, spend time with them, and be approachable.
- Foster a culture of psychological safety so people feel “safe” enough to tell you the truth.
- Don’t put yourself down or deny compliments.
Ask for feedback
Whether you’re getting the team’s perspective on a decision you’re trying to make, or asking how things are going with their jobs (and your leadership) in general, it’s important to foster a culture of psychological safety. Leading with humility means always seeking out the truth, especially if it’s something you might not really want to hear.
If you make a mistake, say so
Admit when you are wrong. People appreciate vulnerability in leadership. Don’t let pride control you or waste energy trying to pass yourself off as perfect. If you have made a mistake, apologize sincerely and move on. The words “I was wrong” will always serve you and can help to reset any relationships.
Be willing to change your mind
A byproduct of learning new information is the ability to adapt and change your mind. Many people think of strong leaders as being decisive and unwavering when there are decisions to be made. They may view changing your mind as a sign weakness. It’s not. It’s actually a sign that you can learn and grow in real time. Have the courage to course correct when new information reveals itself.
Quint Studer is the author of Wall Street Journal bestseller The Busy Leader’s Handbook and a lifelong businessman, entrepreneur, and student of leadership. He not only teaches it; he has done it. He has worked with individuals at all levels and across a variety of industries to help them become better leaders and create high-performing organizations. He seeks always to simplify high-impact leader behaviors and tactics for others. To learn more, please visit www.thebusyleadershandbook.com