The Importance of Humility in Leadership (Interview with Dr. Robert Hogan)
Charismatic leaders tend to focus on personal advancement, humble leaders tend to focus on team performance and guiding their employees. Effective leaders are willing to admit mistakes, share credit, and learn from others. Humility in leadership also leads to higher rates of employee engagement, more job satisfaction, and lower rates of turnover.
Humility in leadership feeds overall effectiveness
Humility is broadly defined as 1) self-awareness, 2) appreciating others’ strengths and contribution, and 3) openness to new ideas and feedback regarding one’s performance. Leaders who are humble have a better grasp on organizational needs and make better informed decisions about task performance. They are also better able to ask for help than their charismatic counterparts. What’s more is that humble leaders help to foster a culture of development with their employees by legitimizing learning and personal development. Humility also encourages cultures of openness, trust, and recognition, which are important precursors to success.
(Dr. Robert Hogan – Forget Charisma, Look for Humility in a Leader)
Humility in leadership does not imply the absence of ego or ambition. Rather, humble leaders are better able to channel their ambition back into the organization, rather than use it for personal gain.
Identifying humble leaders
The challenge in finding and developing effective leaders is in their identification. Charismatic, or highly emergent, leaders easily stand out from the crowd and their likability masks more important characteristics of performance. Humble, and typically more effective, leaders may fly under the radar and be passed over for hiring or promoting. Building selection and development programs that overcome personal biases and focus on objective indicators of success can help identify these low flyers. Organizations can benefit from the use of psychometric testing and 360° evaluation tools to counteract subjective factors by developing a data-driven approach that ensures organizations recognize and promote those who will be effective and humble leaders.