My next book, ‘The Humble Leader’ will be published via a Kickstarter campaign from 25th May. This is a little different from the usual publication route, which partly reflects the interest i have had in this work.
The book has no answers, but rather itself is a guided reflection. I hope that within the pages there is space for people to find their own truth. Perhaps finding ideas to help them to consider the role of humility in their own leadership, or to discount or dismiss the ideas altogether.
Either option is fine by me: i am not the arbiter of other people’s beliefs. We each must find our own path, but can perhaps find value in what other people think, even when their truth differs from our own.
I dislike books that tell me what to think. And equally i dislike it when i do not know what to think.
I had not intended to write a book about humility and, indeed, am somewhat nervous to have done so. It’s a totemic word, or as one of my friends would say, a ‘weasel word’. Probably used more often as aspiration, through cynicism, or in blind faith, than in any particular lived quality. Almost everyone has an opinion, and whilst almost everyone in the research believed that humility is important for leadership, not everyone shared a simple view of what, exactly, it is, and even whether it can be learned.
So i wrote the book to help me figure out what it meant to me, and that is how it’s shared. As a guided reflection that may happen to be my own guided reflection. How much use that is to others, i do not know, but i am reasonably certain that if anyone wishes to explore it for themselves, to do so in company will be more fun than doing it alone.
Certainly that has been my own experience: across different communities, on different continents, and in different contexts, i have been surprised somewhat to see just how ‘human’ so many systems are. People tend to be people wherever you find them. Sometimes kind, sometimes fair, and sometimes just the people who mug you as you pass through.
Most people seek to do good, or at least not to actively do bad. So we live in an intuitive world, governed within our social norms and to some extent our externalised moral frameworks.
In Quiet Leadership i describe humility as one of the ‘smallest of actions’. But action that impacts upon others, as well as ourself.
Over the next few weeks i will be digging into this work further, both to share the ideas from within the book, but also my own thinking as it continues to evolve.
Right now i have no idea how it will land: the response to the preview copies has been good, but these are nice people who i like, and who probably like me – which is no surprise as we tend to find communities in our own image.
I wonder how i will feel when people hate, abuse or discount this work?
I think it’s ok, as it is, in some ways, set up to provide space for this. Someone could legitimately read this work and cross most of it out, or tear out the pages. Indeed, i encourage people to do so. Anyone who reads it cover to cover and agrees with me is probably guilty of not thinking enough. My truth is not their truth, yet i can learn from them.
The future may not be certain, but it is almost certainly negotiated and connected.