Leadership lesson: Don’t let your humility work against you

Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2020 by Gary Hunt

By Gary Hunt, OSCPA communication director

If you don’t have “The Learning Leader Show” podcast on your regular listening list, you need to add it, as host Ryan Hawk routinely tackles useful issues of interest to business professionals.

This week Hawk – head of the leadership advisory practice at Dayton-based Brixey & Meyer, an Ohio CPA proud organization – speaks with Patrick Lencioni, an author and founder of The Table Group. The topic was humility, and how new leaders often think they can inoculate themselves from failure by staying humble.

As both the host and guest explain, humility can work against you. Understand that – based simply on your title, if not other factors – what you say and do carries more weight in your organization. And it’s important for leaders to consider how their words and actions are perceived by others.

This portion – in which Hawk asked Lencioni what leaders with sustained success have in common – was especially instructive:

“(They have humility, in) that they know they're not more important than other people; that deep down inside they know they're just a human being, or as I would say a child of God and everybody else is, too,” Lencioni said. “But they realize their words and actions are more impactful than the average bear. And they hold those two ideas – that are seemingly contradictory – in mind at the same time. (They) realize, ‘Hey, the things I do and say, other people are noticing and acting on, but that doesn't make me more important.’

“Sometimes people, when they realize that their words and actions are important, they let it go to their heads and then they lose sight of things. Or, if they're humble, they think, ‘Well, nobody cares what I think or what I say,’ and so they don't really use their leadership potential.

“I think it's the combination of those two things, which (is ironic) because most people don't think they go together.”

There’s much more in this episode, so I encourage you to give it a listen.


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