“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” C. S. Lewis”
Research on Humility and Teams
In an article “The Best Leaders Are Humble Leaders,” HBR.org, Jeanine Prime and Elizabeth Salib reviewed research they had conducted on leadership.
The research involved six countries and twenty-two companies. It showed that employees who believed that their managers cared for and respected them were more innovative.
The research further showed that humility is one of the four elements that helps employees feel “included,” that is, feeling “unique” yet “belonging.” These employees developed a sense of “citizenship” in the company.
My Personal Experience with (out) Humility
When I am hungry or tired, I can become self-centered and irritable. I want control. I lose patience.
When I focus too much on what I want and what I feel, I am a target for frustration. I can see people as being in the way instead of being there to help me. I lose humility.
I focus on what I don’t like in other people. I focus on what someone else is doing differently from the way I want it done. I am not enjoying my day. I become less available to other people. I lose the benefit of their help.
When I act self-centered, I annoy people. I frustrate people. I make them feel that they are not on the team with me.
I make things harder for myself and for the people on my team.
Humility and Team Productivity
When I can respect and have patience with other people, I feel better. The people around me benefit from my respect and thoughtfulness.
When I stop thinking about myself, working with others becomes easier. I can do my part. I can let other people do their part.
Thinking of others as well as myself, I can get out of my mind and into the present moment. I become more effective. I become more pleasant. I can listen to people. I can help them with solutions. I can benefit from their solutions.
When I am with a team that has members who respect each other’s ideas, everyone enjoys the job more. Even when I am working with a team in dealing with a difficult situation, if we all respect each other and let everyone contribute to the solution, everything moves faster and more effectively.
Do Leaders Need Humility?
I am more effective when I have the humility to listen to other people and to respect their ideas. I enjoy my work more. The people working with me enjoy their work more.
Research shows that companies with humble leaders benefit from employees who feel included and empowered. They are more reliable, innovative, productive, and committed to being members or “citizens” of the company.