Eric Handler headshot Written by: Eric Handler

What it looks like to lead with humility in business

Becoming a leader worth following requires humility, and you can’t fake it.

It takes courage for a leader to be humble because it creates opportunities for vulnerability and rejection. This is one of the reasons why humility is less common in the workplace, and why it’s also something that’s so powerful when you experience it. At Handler, we believe leaders should be caring and coaching those teams they are entrusted with.

Three qualities that all humble leaders possess: 

Eric Handler having a meeting with his team
  1. A quiet confidence
  2. An “others before self” mindset
  3. Desire to serve with the expectation of nothing in return

Leaders often like to present themselves as someone who always has the right answers, and we know this isn’t always the case. It takes a certain level of humility to show this. It’s a way of inviting other people’s opinions to the table and asking others to join you on this journey of leadership. 

Being a humble leader isn’t a requirement for success—there are plenty of leaders of organizations that have shown this. But it is a requirement if you want to be a leader worth following. If you want to open the door for true, real, authentic relationships to take place, approaching others with humility is the way to do it.

Here’s what it means to lead with humility in business:

  1. Keep the interests of others ahead of your own.

Encourage others to share their own opinions and don’t be afraid to ask for input from the group. This isn’t just lip service either. Humble leaders care what others have to say, they listen to it and apply it.

  1. Rather than taking credit, recognize and thank others for their involvement.

This is important because it’s highly unlikely that you got to where you did without another person’s help. Thank people for their help along the way and show them how much you appreciate them and their help, assistance and service. Extend gratitude whenever possible.

  1. It’s not just about what we do, but what we “don’t do.”

Don’t boast or brag about your personal successes or accomplishments. Understand that arrogance can be poison to a relationship that prevents meaningful interactions. We don’t have all of the answers, and being successful requires the efforts of others. Humble leaders will take time to regularly highlight the work of an individual or the team as a whole in staff meetings, communication with clients, etc.  
Humility is a quality that some of the best leaders have. It will cause people to follow them. It’s something that is contagious in corporate culture and shows a person’s ability to learn from others. It also goes a long way toward creating a respectful and healthy organization.

Read here where we explore more of the core competencies of leaders worth following and find more tips to create a healthy environment for both employers and employees.