This article is Part 1 of a 3-part series by Colonel Albers on traits that can make or break a leader
I think that humility is probably one of the least properly understood qualities of a leader. While avoiding pride is critical for a sound leader and citizen, people often equate humility to the opposite of pride. They strive to downplay who they are and the effect they have on those around them. In an attempt to avoid being vain they actually become vain by constantly downplaying who they are. All sort of lumped into this confusing thing we misconstrue as humility.
True humility is a critical character trait for leaders – without humility our effect is greatly diminished and may even be earning us a negative ROI. So today, I want to suggest that being humble is really more about being exactly who you are – not more and not less. That is what being truly humble is. To consider and carry yourself as more than you are is prideful and arrogant – and leads to a fall from grace for the leader. To consider yourself as something less than who you are is vanity and actually in a twisted way attempts to put more attention on you when as leaders we should be putting the spotlight only on where it belongs, when it belongs there, and for how long it belongs there! (hint: most of the time on your stellar teammates!)
Sometimes as humble leaders we will be in the spotlight but when there we will not downplay our effect – but we won’t make more of it then it is. We all know as leaders that most of what we accomplish is because of our phenomenal teams – we have a part to play in their success but we are not THE reason for excellence and we would do well to remember that. But don’t miss that as leaders we have a part – to act like we don’t is to diminish the importance of leadership. This site is devoted to showing just the opposite – that sound leadership is not only critical to family, team, organizational success but that it is foundational and should be pursued aggressively. And you feel the same, deep down, which is why you are reading this post on this site.
True and authentic leaders are humble – being who they are – not more and not less than who they were made to be. To do this effectively requires us knowing who we are and possessing emotional intelligence. Several great articles on this have been written on the Generalleadership.com forum and I highly commend them to you. Study to know thyself…and then walk daily as exactly the person you were created to be…not more, not less – that is being humble! Now, go lead…