The ability to admit mistakes and learn from others
WHAT IS IT?
Humility is not as simple as lowering of oneself or relinquishing personal ambition. It is a realistic attitude that acknowledges that all humans are flawed, and it is a learning orientation that strives for self-improvement. A truly humble person admits fault and is able to give credit where credit is due.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Humility is the hallmark of a mature and capable leader. A humble leader is confident in his/her personal accomplishments and therefore able to share credit with others. In his or her pursuit of self-improvement and learning, the humble leader is also willing to admit fault. Both of these actions can improve team morale, increase buy-in from others, and strengthen the unity of any organization. Humility is a truly disarming trait. It has the power to calm escalating conflict, drive organizations, and create meaningful change.
- Encourage and Appreciate
One way to identify a humble leader is by his or her ability to give genuine and meaningful affirmation. This often takes the form of gratitude, praise, or recognition. Consider those around you, and think of some words of affirmation that speak positively of that person’s character or ability.
- Receive Feedback Mindfully
Receiving positive or negative feedback gracefully is difficult, and both require great humility. Focus on responding to criticism patiently, politely, and with an open mind. When we fail to practice humility in this arena, we typically come across as arrogant and cheat ourselves out of an opportunity for self-improvement. Receiving positive feedback with humility is an equally important skill. Practice gratitude for positive feedback and avoid deflecting or minimizing positive feedback from others.
- Cultivate a Healthy Sense of Self
Finally, the most humble people show understanding and contentment with themselves. Being comfortable in one’s own skin allows the humble leader to distribute praise to others and receive both positive and negative feedback with grace. Contemplate your own strengths and weaknesses, and do your best to come to terms with them. To help cultivate a developed and positive sense of self, find a trusted friend or colleague and practice the previous two steps for improvement. Trade encouragement and feedback, and then practice receiving feedback. Perhaps even give feedback on how you both received those words from each other (yes, feedback on feedback).