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Effective leadership is crucial for the success of any organization. The effectiveness of leadership depends on how well leaders influence the attitudes, behaviors, and values of others toward organizational goals. There are leadership skills that measure leader’s effectiveness. But, a sense of humility is essential to leadership because it authenticates a person’s humanity. Humility prevents excessive self-focus, and allows a leader to develop better relationships with employees. Humility is a trait that has been recognized as a critical aspect of an effective leader. And humility is not a skill and humility is coming from the deep of the heart. It should be developed in a person by practicing while spending more time on it. Showing humility is a not a sign of weakness. Arrogance can be the antidote to humility which has a slight difference from self-confidence.
This answer is about how humility allows a leader to develop better relationships with employees in order to be an effective leader in an organization as said by Stanley Silverman. I realized that most of the time, people confuse humility as self-deprecation and confidence as arrogance. So, I studied these behaviours one by one and contrast the difference between them. Then I studied that how these behaviours affect to the effectiveness of a leader. Throughout the answer I discuss how humility can be used as the key to an effective leadership using relevant managerial concepts and examples.
What is humility?
Humility is simply the absence of pride and lack of arrogance. Humility helps a person to think about his abilities and his actions as no greater, and no lesser, than they really are. A humble person honestly assesses what are his talents, strengths, struggles and weaknesses. Humility is good for self-improvement. By remaining humble, a person can get more opportunities to improve. If a person can be confident, aggressive, and humble at the same time; she or he is a person with humility. It’s completely possible to be confident and humble at the same time, without being prideful. Being humility is a positive trait of an effective leader. Humility cannot be manufactured, because it comes from the heart of a person, specially rooted in what a person thinks of other people. And being humble doesn’t mean that it’s a lack of self-confidence of leader. It gives others a chance to explain their ideas. It may ends with more advance results than before. And humility is not a skill. Someone can act as a person with humility. But others may not feel it. Humility is coming with a person’s moral values and ethics. It should be practiced as a habit may be since childhood.
“Humility is to make a right estimate of one-self.”-Charles H. Spurgeon
What is arrogance?
Arrogance is the antidote the humility. Arrogance makes a person pride meaninglessly. Human nature being what it is, most of us find ourselves at one time or another believing we are better than the next person in some respect. But it’s just an opinion. It doesn’t indicate that he know everything. But if a person goes beyond that he became arrogant person. And if a leader became arrogance it becomes worst because arrogant leaders are self-focused. “Arrogant people are more than willing to take credit for their successes, but not their failures.” They take credit for the experiences of others. They blame others when their organization is failing without identify his/her faults. And arrogant person is an unwillingness to accept feedback. They think they are always right. Arrogant people believe they have the right to own others. Their business decisions are driven by ego. They are manipulative.And they are in always fear about others will overcome them. They always have a silent competition with their fellows.
Humility vs. arrogance
Humble makes a person’s humility and pride makes a person arrogant. Humility helps to person to identify his weaknesses and develop them while arrogance blinds a person with pride. Arrogance is synonymous with insecurity; true humility is synonymous with confidence. Arrogance divides peoples to levels while humility makes strong relationships with everyone. Person with humility always willing to learns but arrogant persons always think they know everything. Humility listens while arrogance talks. Humble leadersserveothers and arrogant leaders serve themselves.
These quotes byLiene Stevens show how a person indicates his arrogance and humility by his words.
Arrogance says, "I am talented, roll out the red carpet for me." Humility says, "I am talented and get to stand on the shoulders of giants." Arrogance says, "Everything everyone else does is inferior." Humility says, "Look at this community of talent!" Arrogance asks, "What's in it for me?" Humility asks, "What's best for everyone involved?"
Most of the time we can see people in higher levels are arrogant while people in bottom-line have humility. When a person climbs up the ladder typically arrogance also goes high. But effective leaders don’t allow arrogance to become higher. They become more humble when goes high.
Arrogance vs. self-confidence
People like to work with leaders with self-confidence. It’s trait of effective leader categorized under a positive quality a leader’s personality. But if a leader crosses the gap between self-confidence and arrogance people may have far less respect than being a self-confidence person. Confidence and arrogancedepend on how a person regards others.For example, five scientists who are collaborating on a project might all be the best at their subjects, but among the other four, perhaps no one has a real academic advantage. If one talks about him up would come across as arrogance. Arrogance doesn't actually come from being too confident, but from insecurity, a fear that if others succeed than him. Arrogance also linked with pride and selfishness.When a person don't want others to succeed, they are being selfish.
Self-deprecation vs. Humility
It’s true that in order to be humble, we have to belittle ourselves. But self-deprecation isn't humility. Self-deprecation is lack of confidence about a person’s own skills. Person with self-deprecations doesn’t believe in himself. They believe they can’t become better. Self-deprecation can bring down a person’s motivation and individual worth. “Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, but less about yourself." - Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
How arrogance affect an organization
Arrogance in the workplace is widespread. Workplace arrogance can have an impact on an organization’s morale and its bottom line. Arrogant behavior can make life miserable for subordinates and co-workers. It affects badly to the relationships between employees. Arrogance makes conflicts between employees. Arrogance affects to each type of communication; upward, downward, and horizontal communication. Silverman says that difficult individuals in a superior position, isn’t receptive to feedback. He suggests that best thing to do is make sure your role is very clear and emphasize the importance of the team and the organization’s objectives.
How arrogance affect to a leader
Arrogance makes a gap between team and leader. It may result leader’s key ideas not transmitting correctly to group members. And group members may not explain their ideas to leaders. Arrogance makes leader self-centered. Group members may have far less respect for an arrogant leader. It may result to have virtual-teams in a group. And leader doesn’t have a chance to get a feedback of his own. Leader will not have a chance to identify his weaknesses and develop them. The performance of leader will decrease and he will be disfavored among superior leaders.
How humility affect to the effectiveness of the leader
- As a human skills
Human skill is the manager’s ability to work with and through other people and to work effectively as a group member. This skill indicates the ability to motivate, facilitate, coordinate, lead, communicate, and resolve conflicts. When the leader is a person with humility it allows subordinates to express themselves without fear and encourages participation. Level of humility can be an indicator of leader’s human skills for the subordinates.
- As a leadership trait
Traits are the distinguishing personal characteristics of a leader, such as intelligence, values, self-confidence, and appearance. Humility allows a leader to encourage others towards their goals and promote others for their success, allow others to take decisions, acknowledging what others do. Therefore humility also can be categorized as a trait. Humility is also a distinguishing personal characteristic. We can see how humility is a trait through “Great Man approach”. Nelson Mandela and George Washington are the genuine examples of great leaders with humility.
- Effective communication
Humility helps to makes positive relationships with co-workers and employees. It helps every level of communication especially upward and horizontal communication. If a leader is humble it gives confidence to subordinates to express their ideas. Their participation will be encouraged. Humility is essential for leaders to get the full advantage of management by wandering around. It will help to leader to communicate his key ideas of follows and learn back their problems.
Humility enhances the leader’s capacity in team working. Leader’s humility helps to eliminate virtual teams, conflicts from effective communication. Leaders are acting dual role of a team; task specialist and socio-emotional role. To do the socio-emotional role leaders definitely need humility. If not, leader will not sense the problems of group members. And leader’s humility will improve the diversity of a team. It will produce more innovative solutions to problems, enhance the level of creativity, and convert conflict that leads to decision making.
Charismatic leaders and humility
These leaders have an emotional impact on subordinates because they strongly believe in the vision and can communicate it to others in a way that makes the vision real, personal, and meaningful. They always think as a whole. They are not self-focused persons. They are full with humility to identify others needs and concerns. Steve Jobbs was a charismatic leader. May not be the case always. A charismatic leader may not always be humble. A charismatic leader may think that humility can make them weak in the eyes of his subordinates.
Transformational Leaders and humility
Transformational leaders are similar to charismatic leaders, but they are distinguished by their special ability to bring about innovation and change by recognizing followers’ needs and concerns (eg. Steve Jobbs, Bill Gates). They are humble to listen to follows and helping them look at old problems in new ways, and encouraging them. They inspire their followers to rise up and solve their own problems.
Sources of power such as referent power are needed to become an effective leader. Referent power is personality characteristics that command subordinates’ identification, respect, and admiration so they wish to emulate the leader. Humility helps to leader to get the respect and admiration of his follows. It helps to get the referent power as an effective a leader in an organization.
Path goal theory
Path–goal theory describes how a leader increase followers’ motivation and clarify the path to attain personal and organizational goals. There are steps in path goal theory increasing rewards through the route. Leader should be humble enough to appreciate his followers’ success. If the leader is arrogant he will feel fear about his position when his followers achieve success. Humility is needed for leaders do these things practically.
Workforce optimization & performance Appraisal
Work force optimization is implementing strategies to put the right people in the right jobs, make the best use of employee talent and skills, and develop human capital for the future. To do the workforce optimization leaders should be able to identify their own talents and weakness while examine others. It’s done by using performance appraisal. Leader should be humble to consider their feed-backs by others to understand what his weaknesses are. And leaders should be humble to appraise the work of follows without being arrogance. It helps to optimize the workforce of an organization.
Developing humility as a leader
Here we can see how humility is importance for an effective leader. Yet the attribute of humility seems to be neglected in leadership development programs. But being humble is important to the leaders to rise through the ranks. How a person can change this?
John dame and Jeffrey Gedmin (John Dame is CEO of Dame Management Strategies (DMS). Jeffrey Gedmin is CEO of the Legatum Institute) suggests six basic principles to develop humility as a leader.
- Know what you don’t know.
- Resist falling for your own publicity.
- Never underestimate the competition.
- Embrace and promote a spirit of service.
- Listen, even (no,especially) to the weird ideas.
- Be passionately curious.
Humility is the absence of pride. Humility is not a skill and it’s coming from the ethics and moral values of a person. Humility is a key to be an effective leader. There are other behaviours which confuse with humility. Most of the time people confuse humility as self-deprecation and confidence as arrogance. It’s important to identify the real meaning of humility from those.
This study shows that how humility allows a leader to develop better relationships with employees in order to be an effective leader in an organization as said by Stanely. Organizations may get advantages by encouraging humility. Humility prevents excessive self-focus, and allows a leader to develop better relationships with employees. There are ways to develop humility in a person. Humility should be practised by taking time.
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