The Courage of Leading with Humility

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Words are our thoughts presented to others. They create emotions when read or when heard. These emotions range across the spectrum from joyous to rage, inspirational to demotivating, provocative to calming. Oftentimes, the same word draws out varied emotions and can be interpreted differently from one person to the next. A word that I have appreciated for a very long time, but have grown to embrace ever more often in my daily life as I have matured as a father, professional, and friend; is HUMILITY.

A professed prolific reader of self-improvement guides, paired with my having been associated with some of the greatest leaders in the hospitality industry throughout my career, I recognize and embrace the power and influence that a humble approach can have on creating very positive outcomes.

Humility is not synonymous with being timid or lacking confidence or having issues of inferiority. It is the belief that you and those you surround yourself with, are equal in all regards.

A humble leader has courage, promotes transparency; and openly displays their desire to serve others rather than expecting others to serve them.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself; but rather thinking about yourself less”

~ C.S. Lewis

Exuding this trait allows the views and actions of others to take center stage as appropriate; it shuns the need for notoriety and self-promotion at the expense of others.

As leaders, humility pairs with sincerity in defining our approach to working with others. If we sincerely hold their best interests in mind and use a humble approach to helping our team realize their desired results, our guidance will be embraced, appreciated, and remembered.

Here are 5 Golden Rules of Leading with Humility:

1. Those who speak less, win. Ask pertinent questions than shhhhh, allow others to speak their mind in depth; listen active to them and with empathy, than inquire some more. There is no such thing as a humble blowhard.

2. Offer yourself up to short but poignant pulse checks on your leadership. Create a questionnaire and a process of complete anonymity for responses. Inquire as to how you are doing as a leader, and what more can be done. Do this three to four times a year, at random times. Be sure to act upon the feedback and respond to the group.

3. Allow the views and opinions of others by the ones chosen to act upon. In most cases there are multiple options to approaching most tasks, hold off on implementing your own when others are viable as well.

4. Guide others when it benefits them and/or the operation, but do so back stage. Allow successes to be bestowed on team members, put them in the spotlight to receive recognition.

5. Humility as a habit can be learned, pass the approach unto others and reinforce the practice each and every day. Share the benefit, pay it forward.

“Don’t worry when you are not recognized; But strive to be worthy of recognition” ~ Abraham Lincoln


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