It’s one of the most misunderstood and underrated leadership traits. Yet research shows that humility is one of a handful of critical qualities that can help leaders — as well as their companies — succeed.

Merriam-Webster defines humility as “freedom from pride or arrogance: the quality or state of being humble.” Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? describes humility as “not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Humble leaders aren’t consumed by their egos and how they appear to other people. They aren’t afraid to acknowledge their humanity, are respectful of other people’s opinions, make an effort to be kind and can acknowledge their mistakes.

Here’s why humility is such an important element of effective leadership:

Enhanced company performance. Studies have linked humility as a leadership trait to higher-performing teams and companies. Surprised? Humble leaders have been associated with higher levels of engagement and job performance from those who report to them. Humble leaders are more approachable, open to collaboration and demonstrate a greater interest in their employees. They know their ideas aren’t always the best and recognize and embrace the fact that others may have vastly different and better ideas.

Easier recruiting. Some executives can be ego-driven, curt and unapproachable. This leadership style tends to turn away quality people. The right kind of leadership can make the best and brightest people want to work for you and your leadership team.

Higher customer retention. There’s more to a job than just the daily grind. Factors like company values, culture and leadership come into play. Employees are more likely to rally around a leader who they feel is on their side as a colleague and mentor, who doesn’t abuse their authority and who models and supports collaboration. Happier employees often have higher levels of individual and team performance.

Better perspective. When you delegate tasks and leave the day-to-day operations to your staff, you can lose perspective. It’s easy to forget how hard people work while the company or the company’s leadership takes credit for employees’ ideas. Plugging in every now and then can help you find a new appreciation for your staff and their efforts. Humble leaders often are better at recognizing their employee’s accomplishments and contributions.

Valuable feedback. A humble leader is not afraid to elicit feedback. After all, this criticism could save you money in the long run if you correct the course sooner rather than later. You want people who are passionate and care about your decisions because this means they’re invested in your company and want to help you.

Learn more about how Rich in Thought consulting can help your business — and you — become more successful. Schedule a Meeting with me today.

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