As they say, the ultimate proof of a leader’s effectiveness is the success of his company or organization. If you take a closer look at some of the most successful companies around, you will realize that they all have a Level 5 leader. This kind of leader is someone who does not allow his ego to get in the way of how he leads his company to success or greatness. Level 5 leaders are an interesting mix of being professionally intense and humble. They are not after public adulation, they do not brag, and they come up with excellent results in silence.

The concept of humility or being humble is interpreted in many different ways. Some of us like what the word humility stands for, while others consider it synonymous with timidity or poor self-confidence. But for great leaders, being humble doesn’t mean being meek. Instead, it is their humility that gives them strength. Many also link humility with timidity. However, humility is possessing an attitude of self-denigration or self-abasement. Being humble is having the ability to be proud of who you are, all your achievements and your value, but without being arrogant about them. Humility is being confident in yourself and your abilities without the need for any merit. A humble person allows everyone to see his or her talents and skills without boasting about them. In short, being humble is not about lacking aggressiveness, but the lack of arrogance in pursuing greatness or success.

How do good leaders practice humility?

No matter how brilliant a leader is, there will always be a point in his or her leadership when they do not have all the answers. Leaders, however, are expected to know everything. Thus, it would be difficult for any leader to admit his or her lack of knowledge about something if they do not practice humility. Indeed, only a humble person can easily admit his or her weaknesses and be open to other people’s opinions or input.

Another thing that a leader with humility does is treat his people with respect irrespective of their position. Humble leaders appreciate everyone’s worth and value in the company, and thus he believes that everybody deserves to be treated equally. A true sign of having humility is how a person treats the people who won’t be of use to him.

Approaching various situations with humility creates positive results as well, especially when it comes to acquiring more knowledge and experience. A person with humility is not busy protecting his own points of view. Instead, he chooses to be more curious and open-minded. As a result, he thinks and acts like a beginner who is hungry to learn. Leaders who practice humility are open to learning what other more experienced and knowledgeable individuals can offer them. With a humble state of mind, you move away from being insecure to more secure; from being scared to being determined; and from being pressured to being free.

So how do you practice humility?

Being humble is a desirable trait that you can develop overtime. Here are some suggestions on how you may practice being humble:
1. You will often find yourself in a position where you find it too difficult to swallow your pride. Especially when you get too busy working towards perfection, you might feel all of your intentions of practicing humility faltering. Since you cannot practically avoid competitions and you will often have to make yourself look good, it would help if you could develop strategies that will help you keep your grace. For instance, when you feel a strong urge to catch the attention of the people, take a moment of silence and remember that you don’t need the limelight to be effective at what you do. By just letting others talk or be the focus of attention, you will feel more liberated.

2. Saying the words “You are right” more often is another good way of practicing humility. Accepting that others know what you don’t know is a good trait that will lead to your learning and earning of respect from your colleagues or subordinates.

3. Listen to yourself and stop when you realize that you are beginning to coach or preach without being asked to. If you have enough reasons to express your opinion regarding what another person is doing, make sure that you do it in a subtle and modest way. This will prevent you from sounding righteous and offensive.

4. As a leader, it is important that you seek other people’s input as to how you are performing your leadership role. As someone how you are doing, and be open to criticisms. This is a good way of practicing humility and making yourself more approachable to the people you work with.

Needless to say, there are several ways you can benefit from being humble. Humble leaders don’t find it difficult to develop good relationships with their employees. By earning the respect of others, you also improve your confidence, which then encourages you to enhance your skills and abilities. These are key elements that will also help you achieve success in career management.

Author's Bio: 

Cecile Peterkin is a certified career and retirement coach, and a registered member of the Career Professionals of Canada and the International Coach Federation. She is also the Founder and Senior Career Strategist at Cosmic Coaching Centre, provider of career and life management services for middle managers and mid-career professionals across Canada, United States and Europe.