good leader remains humble

A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit. – Arnold H. Glasow

Nowadays it seems as if every week there is some companies CEO pleading the fifth or denying accountability to why their companies epic failures are not theirs to bear but rather some unexplainable x-file that – just happened.

The sad truth is that it’s the employee’s who feel the brunt of the blow, not the shareholders. Sure they lose money but do they lose sleep? Their jobs? Their Security?

Leadership is the ability to inspire others to achieve shared objectives, and I think the most important word there by far is “inspire.” – Jeff Weiner

After watching The Last Week With John Oliver unveil the deplorable behavior of Wells Fargo’s CEO, I was left in utter shock and outrage at the smugness and overall lack of humility he displayed.

Be humble is not just essential but critical to being a successful in life period. It doesn’t matter if you sit in the corner office or corner cubicle, humility is a quality that has been written about, promoted and even heralded as the number one success trait of leaders throughout time.

So much so, a recent HBR article showed that employees were more likely to report feeling a sense of purpose and inclusion when they observed altruistic or selfless behavior in their managers — a style characterized by:

  1. Acts of humility, such as learning from criticism and admitting mistakes
  2. Empowering followers to learn and develop
  3. Acts of courage, such as taking personal risks for the greater good

For those who are uncertain just what makes a humble CEO, Jeff Boss wrote a great article outlining the essential habits of a humble leader:

  • They’re Situationally Aware
  • They Retain Relationships
  • They Make Difficult Decisions With Ease
  • They Put Others First
  • They Listen
  • They Start Sentences With “You” Rather Than “I”
  • They’re Curious
  • They Have An Abundance Mentality
  • They Take Time To Say “Thank You”
  • They Speak Their Minds

I recognize this is solely my opinion based on what I know, read and experienced and that other people may have an entirely different perspective. I think it’s important to remember that being humble could look like a lot of different things. For example, A CEO giving up (and back) their stock to better their employee’s or publicly admitting that they made a poor business decision in service of their people and customers are two examples of how some of the people listed below have demonstrated humility.

“In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.” ― Winston Churchill

Here is my short list of CEO’s who are doing the right thing for their employees.

  • Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo
  • Tony Hsieh, Zappos
  • Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
  • Jeff Weiner, Linkedin
  • Dan Schulman, PayPal
  • Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA
  • Sundar Pichai, Google
  • Frank Blake, (retired chairman and CEO) of Home Depot Inc.
  • Tim Brown, IDEO
  • Gary Vaynerchuk, VaynerMedia
  • Reed Hastings, Netflix

The floor is yours: Who would you add and why?

Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.

With leadership, Joshua /

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