Being a leader can be great for your ego; you get your business working and you push new ideas forward into action. However, being a leader is also about leading real people, not just cogs in the wheel of your genius. How do you lead people without treating them like objects? The answer lies in the term "humble leadership."
What does a humble leader do?
A humble leader recognizes that all the people in the business are important. Each one plays a role in making the business work, and it is the leader's job to help them be the best workers they can be. Daniel M. Cable, author of Alive at Work, calls them "servant leaders." In an article in Harvard Business Review, Cable says, "Servant leaders view their key role as serving employees as they explore and grow, providing tangible and emotional support as they do so." Instead of feeding their egos, servant leaders humbly admit that they can learn from the insight of others beneath them in the company. This promotes a culture of respect, encouragement and learning from one another. Those with less power in the business learn that they have more responsibility to be a good worker. The servant leader has a responsibility to encourage others in the company to express new ideas.
Be a good listener.
One of the key aspects of humble leadership is listening. First, a humble leader asks others in the company how he can help make their jobs better, and then he truly listens to their answers. Because this is a rather radical approach to leading, it may take some time for the workers to warm up to the idea that they matter. A humble leader who listens to ideas also has a responsibility to sift through the ideas and try out those that sound good. When people in the business see their own suggestions put into action, they will learn to respect the new humble leadership and feel freer to offer suggestions for improving their work. Humble leaders will probably gain many insights they would never have thought of on their own.
Set a low-risk atmosphere.
Another aspect of humble leadership involves creating an atmosphere that encourages workers to bring up new ideas. This atmosphere should be low-risk, casual, and more like a huddle than a formal business meeting. This is designed to cut anxiety and encourage freedom of thought and speech.
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