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Humble leadership

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

Developing humility on your leadership is an important core leadership attribute if you are trying to build a sustainable leadership style that supports a safe culture in your organisation.  Here are ten of the major attributes you can see in the humble leader as outline by Ron Edmonson:

  1. Dangerous Trust – A humble leader is willing to take a risk on others, trusting them with the vision, even at the chance they may be disappointed with the outcome.

  2. Sincere Investment – Humble leaders know the vision is bigger and will last longer than they will, so they willingly invest in others, raising up and maturing new leaders.

  3. Gentle, but Strong – One can’t be a leader and be weak. Every position of leadership will provide a challenge to the leader, but humble leaders have learned the balance between being gentle and remaining strong.  Remember Jesus’ sermon on the mount – blessed are the meek – meekness is not weakness but rather strength under control.

  4. Readily Admits Mistakes – Everyone makes mistakes. In fact, we often learn more through failure than through success. The humble leader is quick to admit when he or she has done wrong and deals with the fault-out without casting blame or making excuses.

  5. Forgives easily – Leadership is filled with disappointment; often at the expense of other’s mistakes. A humble leader forgives easily, remembering how many times he or she has been forgiven.

  6. Quickly diverts praise – We all like to be recognized for accomplishments, but a humble leader is quick to divert praise to others, sharing the limelight for successes with those, who many times, may have even had more to do with the success than the leader did. They celebrate the success of others louder than personal success

  7. Remains thankful – A humble leader is appreciative of the input of others into his or her leadership. Humble leaders recognize that all good gifts come from God.

  8. Recognises Limitations – No one can do everything. A humble has the ability to say, “I can’t do that or I’m not the one who should”.

  9. Shares authority – Humble leaders don’t take all the key assignments for themselves, but give out prime responsibility and authority to people he or she is leading.

  10. Invites feedback – A humble leader wants to learn from his or her mistakes and wants to continually see improvement. Humble leaders initiate other’s suggestions and feedback, not waiting until complaints come, but personally asking for the input.

Humility is not putting yourself down as a leader. It’s ultimately recognising who you are in view of God and others. The danger in not being a humble leader or considering ourselves better than others, is that one day we may be “humbled”. Many of us learn humility the hard way.

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