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March 13, 2013
How to Be a Humble Leader
If you want to be a CEO, COO, or hold any leadership position, you’ll have to manage others effectively. Part of being an effective leader is remaining humble. While you may be able to request major adjustments within the company as whole or your customer call center department, you won’t be successful unless you have the respect of those who are executing the projects you’ve planned. Humble leaders make others feel important and valued. Being humble isn’t always easy after working hard to get to a leadership position. Here’s what you can do to stay more grounded.

Be Open to Mistakes
Mistakes happen. It doesn’t matter where someone is in a company; mistakes take place. Humble leaders understand a mistake or two can happen and forgive easily. No one is perfect, including you. Leaders and those being led can make mistakes. It’s important to distinguish between a mistake and a bad habit. Leaders need humility to connect with employees. By forgiving a mistake and discussing what can be changed to avoid the same thing happening, you’ll create a deeper connection with those you’re leading and will be able to refine processes for better execution in the future.

Be Aware of Shortcomings
A humble leader isn’t arrogant and is aware of where he isn’t the best. Part of being a leader is encouraging those around you to get involved, provide insight that might be missing, and help the company or organization evolve for the better. By being aware of your shortcomings, you can find areas for personal development and will be able to delegate responsibility and authority to others that excel where you don’t. You’ll relieve yourself of stress in the short-term and will become a better leader and individual in the long-term. Part of being humble is recognizing where you can learn and improve and then sharing that knowledge with others. Stories of obstacles and how you overcame them with the group around you are beneficial for the unit as a whole. Each sees their value being recognized and sees that even though you are in a higher position, you still have room to learn, just as they do.

Be Balanced
Humble leaders understand and apply a balance of being strong, yet gentle. Leaders are constantly being challenged by obstacles and employees, and a humble leader knows when it is time to be firm in a direction or meeting and when he/she needs to be gentler. The same goes for balancing personal success and the success of others. Share the spotlight with others and recognize those who have done well in the responsibilities they’ve been given. By finding the balance between gentle and strong, you’ll be able to retain the respect of those around you while still being an outlet for open conversation and understanding. By showing a willingness to share the spotlight, others in your group will feel valued and appreciate the recognition.

Being a leader isn’t easy. It often takes hard work to be placed in a leadership role and even more work to maintain a position. Leaders are responsible for the group as a whole and how effective it is. In fact, one study found that leader humility is associated with more learning-oriented teams, more engaged employees, and lower voluntary employee turnover. Being an effective leader means remaining humble, no matter what your position or title is. 

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Erica Bell is a small business writer who focuses on topics such as business loans and credit card processing. She is a web content writer for Business.com, a directory that provides advice on topics including small business credit cards and payroll software solutions.
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