The Irish poet Thomas Moore called humility “that low, sweet root, from which all heavenly virtues shoot.” Sounds great. Heavenly virtues? I’ll take a dozen. But can a leader’s humility go too far?
I have come to believe that humility is a fundamental characteristic of good leadership. Unless a leader is humble, they cannot appreciate the virtues in others. They can shut down discussion. They can make others feel less than full teammates.
I still believe all this, but in a piece that far more balanced than what is typical of the genre, Nihrl Chhiya in his Forbes piece, How To Know If Your Humility Has Gone Too Far points out ways that a leader’s humility can actually undermine them.
He speaks to self-deprecation, the frequent tag along to humility. When one “peels back the onion” on self-deprecation you find that it may be fake. And as a result impacts a leader’s credibility. Self-deprecation can also confuse or inadvertently cause a team to feel negatively about the leader’s work.
The list of ways that humility – overdone – can harm leadership is long and well-reasoned. Many resonate with me. And I will admit that I have fallen into the trap that Chhiya identifies many times.… Read the rest and share