Mindful Leadership-Assess Your Humility LevelArticle by Maynard Brusman, July 16, 2018
Assess Your Humility Level
Once you grasp the basic tenets of humility, you can more accurately gauge how well you exhibit it. Start by assessing your behavior and responses to the following questions. (You can work with a trusted colleague or coach to ensure you see yourself clearly.)
Do you frequently lose your temper? Perhaps you’re short with people or pressing your points without regarding theirs. Take stock of how people respond to you. Is there an issue with your approach? If your employees try to avoid you or resist bringing up difficult topics, you may be overbearing. Focus on being calm and collected, and recognize the harm caused by a lack of kindness or empathy. Put yourself in the shoes of a person confronted with your gruff approach.
Are you a focused listener? Are people frustrated because they can’t complete their sentences with you? Do you make sense of their points, or have you missed part of the conversation? Do people’s comments indicate that you don’t understand their perspective? Practice better listening skills by eliminating distractions and making a deliberate effort to grasp everything someone is saying. Imagine being quizzed on the conversation to see if you’ve caught every point. Ask questions to verify what you were told. (If this embarrasses you, use it as an incentive to listen better.)
Are you too focused on your own image? Do you build yourself up at others’ expense? Do their victories end up on your bragging list to impress your boss? Do you give your people a chance to present how they accomplished their tasks? Any attention your people draw from success reflects directly on you. Great leaders don’t need to grab credit. They earn much more respect when their people get the credit. Advance your reputation through your team’s exemplary track record.
Do you search for sources of blame when things go wrong? Are your stories getting more creative as you try to avoid judgment? Is throwing people under the bus more the norm than the exception? Try to recognize that blame causes more damage to your reputation than the initial problem. Respect and trust are earned only when you accept responsibility for a situation, learn from it and take steps to avoid a repeat scenario. Admit to your people that you don’t know everything and you’re open to learning new ways to improve efficacy and productivity. Swallowing your pride is a major step toward achieving humility.
Leaders can certainly change—at least to a degree. Behavioral adjustments and upgrades are possible, but they take work. An entire overhaul of your behavior is generally not workable and may indicate you’re not in the correct role.
A cognitive decision to improve is only the first step in practicing humility. Change is proportional to the effort you put into it. Lasting results are achieved only after rigorously practicing new behaviors.
Training your brain requires focus, repetition and ongoing feedback from others. Consider hiring a qualified professional coach to help you adopt a humbler approach to leadership. The rewards are well worth the investment.
Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist & Executive Coach
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Tags: emotional intelligence, executive coaching, humble leadership, leadership development, mindful leadership