As a coach, I am asked the question “How to be a good leader?” far too many times. I wish there was a ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question. The reality is that leadership is not an entity one can grow into overnight. So, what is the best approach to developing leadership skills?
There is an old notion in most people’s minds that a leader is always authoritative, demanding, and imposing with a lot of charisma sprinkling around them. Self-esteem and self-confidence were rated highly in the past as a requirement of a true leader. The truth is that the latest research shows otherwise. The most desirable factor in a leader is humility. A good leader is relatable, approachable, and a good role model.
So, let us examine how humility leads to good leadership.
Humility weakens the inflated view of people about themselves that can diversely affect the judgment or a decision as a leader. Overconfidence and a ‘know it all’ demeanor may not affect the quality of leadership initially but as time passes, the leadership will be questioned. Failure to correct oneself or change the way they think and the inability to listen to others before making a decision are all signs of low humility. A higher level of humility among members can encourage group discussions and create a dynamic work environment, where ego and self-worth do not come in the way of decision-making.
How are humility, confidence, and good leadership related?
A confident leader considers the viewpoints and opinions of others on a project or an issue at the workplace. This kind of confidence requires humility on the part of the leader. A leader whose performance is high is curious and is engaged in what their employees have to say. Latest research show that a leader’s knowledge is not questioned if the leader asks questions while engaging with the employees. But on the other hand, if the leader creates an illusion of knowledge and technical skill, employees question their authenticity.
But how easy is it for employees to express themselves if the leaders ask for their opinion?
This is only possible if the leaders have created an environment of trust and a safe space. The employee will only like the spotlight if they feel valued and what they have to say matters to the leaders. If the attention they receive creates gigantic fear and embarrassment, they would rather remain quiet. A good leader realizes that it is important for the team to feel a sense of belonging and what they contribute to the team matters. The mindset of a good leader is very crucial. High-performance leaders will be happy to learn from their past mistakes and are also good problem solvers. A desire to learn from others and find solutions to problems through this knowledge is only possible if leaders practice humility in their lives.
Some of the leaders who we admire today or have admired in the past are usually high in their humility. They are happy to give their attention to others and learn things that they had no knowledge of. They listen and engage in conversations with an unbiased approach that leads to better decision-making.
If you would like to learn more about your strengths and cultivate your leadership skills or any particular skill that you feel you could improve on, it is best to reach out to a professional and make the best use of their expertise rather than suffer in silence. You have a better chance at success if you reach out for help and make changes rather than do nothing at all.
Hamna Siddique is a career and leadership coach focusing on confidence and personal development.
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