Updated: Sep 6
“It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom,” said Mahatma Gandhi. “It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”
Gandhi’s humility and self-reflection are often admired. In the world of spirituality, humility is often discussed, but it has not been an area of study in the workplace. In recent years, however, researchers have been exploring the nature and benefits of humble leadership.
Humility can be simply defined as thinking of others more than yourself. In our social world we see it in acts of kindness or charitable endeavors. In the workplace, humble leadership is demonstrated when leaders welcome ideas from a variety of sources, actively incorporate these ideas into business strategies and give credit to those who came up with the ideas.
Research suggests that effectively humble leaders balance appropriate confidence in their own beliefs with an acceptance of others input and an understanding they could be mistaken.
Humility is not just a trait to be admired, but a leadership quality to be developed. When humility is part of the workplace culture, it reaps a variety of benefits including:
As staff recognize that their ideas will not only be heard, but championed, their confidence improves and innovation increases.
A humble culture encourages people to seek out others for advice and support. This builds a culture where others easily offer help. The result is enhanced teamwork leading to higher productivity.
Higher employee satisfaction and loyalty
When employees are asked for their opinions and acknowledged for their contribution they tend to be more satisfied with their role in the organization. This in turn translates to longer employment. In addition, highly satisfied employees often reach out to others in their professional network to become part of the organization which can improve recruitment.
A humble leadership style can be actively cultivated. Check out our next blog for behaviors you can add to your leadership repertoire to build a powerfully humble culture.