Humility is a much admired Leadership trait, but perhaps something awarded more as judgement on our actions than a specific skill or behaviour that you or i can learn: it’s experienced through our impact on others, and the way that we are seen to carry our own intent and action.
Intent is our internal starting point: many of us would wish to act with humility, and yet are caught up in the storm of culture and action. We act to gain, to win, to be heard, when perhaps what is needed is to learn, to listen, and to step back.
Humility is, perhaps, a trait we value more when we see it in others than one we hold it as a driver in our own everyday action.
A humble leader is one who is ready to learn, willing to share, and open to listen.
When we lack humility, as we all do at least some of the time, it is typically not because we have abandoned it, but rather that we are lost in the storm.
There is a friction between intent and action, between aspiration and culture, between me and you. And that friction erodes the humility of leadership, unless we can find the spaces for reflection, and the foundations of action.
Why do we need humble leaders? Because our belief in ourselves, when we put ourselves first, when we believe we are certain, when we hold ourselves above others, these are the times we are most likely to fail.
And because we carry a responsibility: to lead through action, to listen into the silence, and to lead in a way that makes a solid step for others to climb upon.