January 9, 2019

Lessons on Leadership

by Nathan Mellor, Ed. D.

One of my favorite leadership quotes is, “Humility connects people.  Arrogance separates.”  I first heard that statement a little over twenty years ago, and it has been a guiding principle since.  Although the quote is a maxim and there are some exceptions, I have found it be a valuable thought.  We are drawn to and inspired by humble leaders.  Humble leaders build strong teams and express gratitude freely.   

There are three things I believe humble leaders do that set them apart from others.  If these actions describe your approach to leadership, stay on track.  If these actions do not resonate, I hope you will consider how you might integrate them into your approach to leadership.

Invest in Relationships

Humble leaders cultivate a culture of cooperation by building relationships.  These special leaders seek to understand the perspective of others and consistently express a genuine interest in their lives.  Due to their ability to build meaningful relationships, they understand the needs and interests of their colleagues and can use their insights and influence to help others. Because they invest in the lives of others, when they are placed in a situation where not everyone agrees, they can still inspire cooperation based on the trust they have cultivated. 

Building relationships means intentionally spending time with the members of your team, giving them your undivided attention, and allowing others to share their perspectives and life experiences.

Do Your Best

Humble leaders are motivated by the satisfaction of doing a job well, even if they do not receive recognition for their efforts.

It is important to build the confidence of your clients, employees, and colleagues by sharing success stories-humble leaders do this with restraint.   Their primary motivation is not recognition, but the satisfaction that comes from doing a job well, even if others do not notice. Recognition is appreciated and should not be underestimated, but a deeper motivation flows from the desire to do your best. 

Be Willing to Learn

Humble leaders seek to improve themselves, knowing this is good for them and for the organization. They are open to new ways of doing things, and they seek out different perspectives through reading, coaching, and other learning opportunities.  They ask for feedback, admit mistakes, and develop new skills.  This creates a culture where growth never stops, and the learning never ends