Leadership in a word: Humility

Have the humility to learn from those around you. - John Maxwell


In the sometimes rough and tumble world of leadership, humility is not necessarily a word that would describe the temperament needed in the face of adversity and tough decision making.

But I’d like to submit that humility is exactly what’s needed and in fact is the missing secret sauce in leadership.

In his book, “My Years With Winston Churchill,” Norman McGowan writes:

Winston Churchill was once asked, “Doesn’t it thrill you to know that every time you make a speech, the hall is packed to overflowing?” “It’s quite flattering,” replied Sir Winston. “But whenever I feel that way, I always remember that if instead of making a political speech I was being hanged, the crowd would be twice as big.”

Churchill, the powerful Prime Minister of Great Britain during a most turbulent time in world history, kept a proper perspective of himself and didn’t allow an over inflated ego to cloud his judgment as a leader.

As a leader, there’s nothing wrong with being confident and sure of your abilities. The people you lead need solid, sound, and secure leaders at the helm.

But what is the tipping point when your leadership resembles arrogance, pride, egotism, self-importance, and pretentiousness more than humility?

Perhaps it’s time for some honest self-assessment and reflection. Better yet, why not put your cards on the table with your inner circle and allow them to speak truthfully to you about what they observe?

Humility in leadership is the understanding that it’s not about you or me, that the pathway to greatness is found through serving, and that the old adage is as true as it’s ever been - pride goes before the fall.


“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less”- Rick Warren

“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” - Jesus, Mark 10:43

“What humility does for one is it reminds us that there are people before me.” - Maya Angelou

“With pride, there are many curses. With humility there come many blessings.” - Ezra Taft Benson

“If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know who you are.” - Mother Teresa


The world is looking for strong leaders. But the often overlooked characteristic of strong leaders are those who are comfortable enough in their own skin to lead with humility.

Read more at dougdickerson.wordpress.com. ©2018 Doug Dickerson



• Humility means “the state of being humble.” Both it and humble have their origin in the Latin word humilis, meaning “low.”

• Humble can be used to describe what is ranked low by others, as in “persons of humble origins.” People also use the word of themselves and things associated with themselves; if you describe yourself as “but a humble editor” or refer to your home as your “humble abode,” you are saying that neither you nor your home is very impressive.

Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

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