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#2 of 4 BRAIN-BASED LEADERSHIP SECRETS – The 2nd leadership secret is: HUMILITY

When it is clear in their words and actions that leaders do not feel superior to those whom they lead, the people see themselves in their leaders and never tire of them.” – Lao-tzu

Command and control, and rule by fear leadership is counterproductive and outdated. In today’s world, strong leadership egos create barriers; the antidote is to humbly demonstrate a deep respect for the human spirit. How? 

By seeking feedback, testing your assumptions (to make better decisions), by asking questions for which you do not have the answer (i.e. it’s OK to not to know / have all the answers), letting those with greater knowledge and experience take the decisions, to name a few. 

You need confidence (vs arrogance) to be humble. And humble leaders recognise that it is not enough to be for the people, they must also be of the people. Ultimately humble leaders create a climate where everyone can bring their best selves to the business; they create a feeling of shared inspiration.

A Brief Case Study: A top banker was promoted to a global CEO role, and previously had travelled the world, visited countless branches, and listened to hundreds of people. With their worldly knowledge the newly promoted CEO was about to introduce their Top 10 Strategic Drivers to the ExCo when their Executive Coach said, “STOP!”. The Executive Coach courageously suggested the CEO ‘park’ their ego, refrain from ‘Telling’ the ExCo the way forward, and ask the ExCo what they thought the Top 10 strategic drivers could be. The ExCo identified 7 strategic drivers that were the same / similar to the CEO’s! The CEO’s job became 70% easier because the ExCo was now pre-disposed to drive 7 of their ideas forward, and the CEO only had to solicit buy-in for 3 new strategic drivers.

For more on this, I invite you to go to the source and review the work of David J. Lieberman, Ph.D. and read the HBR article, How Humble Leadership Really Works.