What it comes down to is this: employees who do the actual work of your organization often know better than you how to do a great job. But the effects of this approach can be powerful. As the drivers got credit for their ideas and saw them put into place, they grew more willing to offer more ideas, which made the depot managers more impressed and more respectful, which increased the delivery people’s willingness to give ideas, and so on. Instead, leaders with exceptional character earn a lot more respect and admiration. Instead, servant leadership emphasizes that the responsibility of a leader is to increase the ownership, autonomy, and responsibility of followers — to encourage them to think for themselves and try out their own ideas. In all my work developing the leadership skills of managers, if I could give them any attribute with a magic wand it would be humility. Humble definition is - not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive. A leader is highly susceptible to power-trips and this is when the leadership trait of humility is lost. Top-down leadership is outdated and counterproductive. Over the course of one year, Jungkiu visited over eighty branches in twenty-five cities. Humility isn't about being passive and weak. You know who what most people think about those who boast, brag and flash their success? Our weekly customer conversation meetings are now more interactive and the conversations are more honest and adult in their approach. Humble leaders recognize that all good gifts come from above. The team wanted to experiment with working on the weekends. Rather than cramming all the feathers on your hat that flash your greatness, stick to the one feather that really stands out above all – integrity. Through their humility leaders understand that by grooming and growing their teams the company’s bigger picture can be achieved through their collective brilliance. But one of the best ways is to adopt the humble mind-set of a servant leader. By focusing too much on control and end goals, and not enough on their people, leaders are making it more difficult to achieve their own desired outcomes. You don’t need to brag about anything because your actions speak much louder. This quote is the perfect example of what it means to lead with humility. By focusing too much on control and end goals, and not enough on their people, leaders are making it more difficult to achieve their own desired outcomes. There are many attributes that leaders must develop if they wish to have a meaningful impact in the workplace. Continued Ferry, "The best leaders are willing to admit when they are wrong and view mistakes as learning opportunities, so they can turn them into something positive -- something transformative.". And perhaps even more important than better company results, servant leaders get to act like better human beings. While it's true that not all criticism is valid. Though humility is often underrated by the world at large, it's essential if you want to be successful as a leader not just at work, but in life. By valuing their team they transfer ownership and share the stakes of the company’s success. As I’ve discovered in my own research, this ramps up people’s fear — fear of not hitting targets, fear of losing bonuses, fear of failing — and as a consequence people stop feeling positive emotions and their drive to experiment and learn is stifled. It's about showing respect and recognizing truth in all situations, including in the workplace. As a result, company performance and employee satisfaction improved, while turnover fell. A humble leader is secure enough to recognize his or her weaknesses and to seek the input and talents of others. They admit to their mistakes. Take for example a UK food delivery service that I’ve studied. Leaders often do not see the true value of their charges, especially “lower-level” workers. Another driver thought of a way to report stock shortages more quickly so that customers were not left without the groceries they ordered. Power, as my colleague Ena Inesi has studied, can cause leaders to become overly obsessed with outcomes and control, and, therefore, treat their employees as means to an end.

Sure you want some level of competition, however, it could result in chaos, dishonest behavior and even unfair treatment. And, depot managers learned that some of the so-called “mistakes” that drivers were making were actually innovations they had created to streamline processes and still deliver everything on time.

For example, one of the Shanghai branches was inside of a shopping mall. Lewis shared one of my favorite quotes on the subject, "humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.". With humility as your core leadership trait, you can build a leadership legacy that’ll attract many followers and win countless successes.

There was huge scepticism at the beginning, as you can imagine. If you’re posing yourself as “perfect” people won’t be drawn to follow you because they’ll feel inadequate, flawed and nearly never acceptable to someone who’s in such a high status.

For the humble leader, achieving success becomes easier because they have a team that wins and losses together. Then, Jungkiu would hold “huddles” and ask how he could help employees improve their branches. That it’s all made up.

Nor do they need to be. You’ve earned their credibility by delivering on your promises and making sure you see your plan through. Part of this is due to common misconceptions about what humility is and what it means to be humble. They have reserves of inner strength.

Within a few months, this branch’s weekend income generation surpassed its entire weekday income. They appreciate the opportunities they have and are grateful to be supported by talented individuals who elevate their greatness.

For example, when Jungkiu Choi moved from Singapore to China to start his gig as head of Consumer Banking at Standard Chartered, he learned that one of the cultural expectations of his new job was to visit the branches and put pressure on branch managers to cut costs. Complaints from customers were reduced by 29 percent during the same period.

One of the best ways is to adopt the humble mind-set of a servant leader. Part of the reason humility tends to be overlooked in the workplace is because it is frequently misconstrued as a "weak" attribute. Many branch employees were very surprised and initially did not know how to react.

They encourage people to speak up, respect differences of …

By being receptive to outside ideas and assistance, creative leaders open up new avenues for the organization and for their employees. People can relate to leaders who seem more “human” because they see the struggles they face in you and believe they too can be successful. Leaders with humility act as a source of encouragement, support and guidance for their team enabling them to tap into their full potential and be more successful. We have been led to believe that people who are humble are easily bulldozed by others and aren't willing to stick up for themselves. This culture results in high engagement and innovation -- and if there's one lesson that has been consistent in the business world, it's that innovation is crucial if you want your success to be sustainable in the long run. Once its traditional model was disrupted by newer delivery companies, the management team decided that things needed to change. Humility and servant leadership do not imply that leaders have low self-esteem, or take on an attitude of servility. They’ll believe you more when they understand you and can relate to you. In other words, humble leadership essentially empowers employees. Together, we'd been discussing the value of humility in leadership. This comes from the understanding that fear and coercion will result in burnout and higher employee turnover. These innovations helped the company deliver better customer service. So much so, that a humble leader naturally praises the actions of others far more than the time spent patting themselves on the back for personal accomplishments. In a time when consumerism is big, when people’s desire to have more is insatiable … Bragging about your accomplishments and greatness will result in dissociation and disconnect with your team. Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do. His consistency and willingness to help convinced employees who were sceptical at first. Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School. And, they needed ideas that could make the company more competitive. These experiments paid off in terms of company performance. Sure you may achieve your short-term goals this way, but in the long run your company will suffer from a demotivated and untrusting talent pool. Servant leaders view their key role as serving employees as they explore and grow, providing tangible and emotional support as they do so. It’s hard to put into words the changes we are seeing.”. Simply put, the more successful your team, the more success your company enjoys and the greater your leadership. Respecting their ideas, and encouraging them to try new approaches to improve work, encourages employees to bring more of themselves to work. They become more willing to speak their mind and offer suggestions because they know that their leaders are going to listen. In the huddle, employees asked Jungkiu if they could open and close the same times as the mall’s operating hours (rather than the typical branch operating hours). as humans, are often more looked up to and admired. The huddles exposed many simple “pain points” that he could easily help solve (for example, training for the new bank systems, or making upgrades to computer memory so that the old computers could handle the new software). Join over 100,000 of your peers and receive our weekly newsletter which features the top trends, news and expert analysis to help keep you ahead of the curve. But as depot managers kept asking “How can I help you deliver excellent service?” some drivers started to offer suggestions. This was not an idea that Jungkiu had even imagined. Humble leaders understand that they are not the smartest person in every room. Jungkiu changed the nature of these visits. Our comments are moderated. They actively seek the ideas and unique contributions of the employees that they serve.

Paul has a firm belief that outstanding results can only be achieved through people, by engaging teams and building commitment… View full profile ›.

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