Explore the Benefits of Humility in Business

© Copyright 2009 Pamela Hollister
Please ask permission to reproduce this article. pamhollister@thepeopleprocess.com

Leadership humility is rare and doesn’t necessarily enjoy the recognition it serves, says Wikus van Vuuren, a director at GIMT. “Humility is unfortunately often perceived as a weakness in business when, in fact, it can be a tremendous asset.”

Humble leaders who openly understand and develop their weaknesses and capitalize on their strengths often create environments that encourage people to grow, which in turn grows the organization, he says.

“Some of the most successful organizations worldwide have leaders who inconspicuously ‘stand out’ due to their humble nature, rather than their arrogance and flamboyance,” Van Vuuren says.

Indeed, the leader who is humble never allows the power of his position to cloud his judgment. He respects the unique contribution individuals have to make, and does not get stuck on their perceived weaknesses, he adds.

“One of the greatest strengths of humble leaders is that they never assume they know all the answers and allow people to explain things to them. They look for the opportunity to learn and use every opportunity to make others feel valued.”

Apart from personal issues, there is no real harm in letting people know what you view as your strengths and weaknesses. “A good step would be to implement a system where you can get direct feedback from your executive team, your clients, your staff and even people in your personal circle. While this system will create an open and honest company culture, it will also contribute significantly to your own personal growth.”

Van Vuuren says you should connect with your manager, peers and those that report to you. “You will make them feel more comfortable about exploring their own opportunities for development.”

Honest leaders are also good listeners, he says. “Do you have a tendency, when someone starts explaining something, to interrupt them to make sure they know that you already know what they are talking about? The next time this happens, try something new. Listen. Let them finish their explanation.

“Ask lots of questions, validate them, then add your comments.”

In the act of being humble, you make others feel important and valued, Van Vuuren said.

“That is the gift of the humble leader. Besides, it is more refreshing and empowering being around humble people than inflated egos.”

Pamela Hollister
Author, The PEOPLE Process
May 18, 2009
Excerpted from Independent Online - 2007

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