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Posts & articles that have helped thousands build performance through pragmatic leadership.

How to Stay Humble

As discussed in a previous article, Don’t Let Hubris Be Your Downfall, arrogance and overconfidence can lead to the demise of many leaders. So what should leaders do if they start to go down the wrong path and feel they are losing touch with their humility? Following a few pieces of key advice can make all the difference between a leader who is disliked and must worry about maintaining authority and one who thrives with employees’ admiration and respect.

1. Stay in touch with employees in all levels of the company.

Staying in touch with employees at different levels of the company is really important as it showcases well-rounded involvement with the company and enhances presence. It is also a direct way to detect real problems that are happening throughout the company early. To implement, it can be as simple as regularly visiting other office floors and sites.

2. Go into nature

Many classic poets and novelists knew this secret. Nature can have a powerful humbling effect on the mind. When leaders spend a great deal of time reigning over their man-made kingdom, it helps to get out and see the parts of nature that are more powerful than what they have created. One can take a weekend hiking trip or catch views of a powerful waterfall.

3. Spend time with family and people who like you for you

Along with success comes the presence of opportunists. Sometimes it’s hard to stay grounded when surrounded by people who just want to flatter and praise in order to extract something. It is really important to spend time with family, pets, friends from college, or any people who are more interested in quality time than what you can do for them.

4. Do some hands-on philanthropy

Many leaders are generous and supportive of a multitude of causes. Going out and doing real philanthropy hands-on is another experience. Even if the monetary donation is not high, hands-on charity work has a powerful humbling effect and allows one to appreciate all that one has.

5. Consider moving your office location

Several CEOs have described the benefits of moving their offices to more centralized and accessible locations. Like staying in touch with all employees by moving around, central office locations increase visibility and give other employees the feeling that the leader is directly involved in all company matters.

6. Create systems of checks and balances

One of the best ways to stay humble is to keep your opinions in check. A leader can do this by surrounding himself with people who maintain company values. Limit absolute powers so that several knowledgeable people are involved in making important decisions.

7. Encourage dissent

Maybe it sounds good to hear everyone agree with your views, but how many novel solutions are you really going to come up with if you do not encourage employees to digress? A humble leader knows that having a great idea is not an exclusive act. Besides, ideas are usually enhanced when everyone is encouraged to speak up.

8. Admit and fix mistakes

There is nothing wrong with admitting that you made a mistake. In fact, admitting that as a leader, you still make mistakes is admitting that you are human and real. It is one of the best ways to stay humble as proud leaders are less likely to ever admit that they were wrong.

9. Treat everyone with respect

It is easy to blame people when they make mistakes and ignore achievements of different employees. It is much more fruitful to forgive people for their mistakes, and provide mentorship and motivation so they fix their own errors. Forgiveness and respect go a long way in making you well-liked.

10. Don’t lose the traits that got you there in the first place

Many leaders change their working style once they attain a certain position. However, if the skills that led to your success include things like the ability to collaborate, then it does not make much sense to suddenly become a one-person act. Remember which traits directly contributed to your success, then work on honing those skills, not abandoning them.



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