Leadership and Humility

Humility and Leadership rarely are associated together but a leader must learn to be humble

Humility and Leadership rarely are associated together but a leader must learn to be humble

photo by BUR?BLUE

When you do a word association with humility, leadership probably does not pop into your head. A leader should be great, glorious, and confident right? If their confidence leads them to be prideful well then so be it.  It’s probably OK for someone to be a little prideful if they have earned the right to be prideful.   Well not according to Jesus and many others in recent history who have studied truly great leaders.

Take a look at the example Jesus left for us at the last supper. On the night before he was crucified, Jesus did something extraordinary; He got up, got a towel and water, and began to wash the feet of each of His followers. In that time only a servant, and the humblest of servants at that, washed people’s feet. Yet Jesus did this to show us what a leader should really look like. He showed us that a leader needs to be thinking and serving those who follow them. They need to put their follower’s needs ahead of their own. A leader has incredible responsibility, and one of them is to make sure that the needs of those entrusted to him or her are taken care of.

When a leader is humble and takes time to look after the needs of those following them, then the followers will be more willing and able to follow and do whatever needs to be done to accomplish the goal at hand.

Especially today, humility is not a popular trait.  Somehow William Bennet left it out of his best seller The Book of Virtues.  Maybe there were not enough stories of a humble protagonist, or maybe humility does not sell.  :-)   If a leader does not continue to pursue humility it is likely they will soon become prideful and fall into traps caused by the sin of pride.  A humble leader accepts the council of others and grows from it.

I once heard the phrase that humility is not thinking less of yourself it is not thinking of yourself at all.  President’s Lincoln and Reagan both modeled this characteristic of humility well.  Nancy Reagan said of President Reagan that he had no ego.  He was not concerned about himself.  Though many great leaders are attributed with the quote “You can get a lot done if you don’t care who gets the credit.”  It was certainly an opinion that Reagan voiced often and probably helped to keep him humble as he made his way up the ladder of success.

If you want to pursue humility it helps to keep your focus on Christ who was humble despite being God.  It helps to give away all the credit you can.  It also helps to receive encouragement and praise with a simple “Thank You.” or “Praise God.”  A false humility that says, “Oh it was nothing.”  Simply causes the giver of the praise to have to offer more or justify their original statement, whereas a thank you or focus on God causes the attention to go back to that person or to God.

Subscribe Now

And Receive our 3 Most Requested Resources Absolutely Free!

Email

Effective Leaders Remain Accountable

A leader must remain accountable in order to stay on top of being a leader, and follower of Christ.

A leader must remain accountable in order to stay on top of being a leader, and follower of Christ.

Photo by alles-schlumpf

When you think of accountability, you often think of a leader keeping others accountable. That’s one of their roles as a leader right? Well this is true, but a leader also has the responsibility to keep him or herself accountable.

There are two areas a leader needs to remain accountable in: first, they should hold themselves to the same standards as everyone under them: and second, they should recognize their own need to have someone who keeps them on track and accountable for their actions.

As a leader, whenever you set rules or regulations, you must be the first to follow them. It both sets an example for others to follow, and shows that you are really serious about the guidelines that you have set.

I can think of one situation I was in where a leader said one thing, but did another.  I was volunteering for a camp and one of the leaders for the camp told me, and a group of other guys, that we could only have one snack per day. Now, there was an entire room that had tables covered with snacks that had been donated for volunteers, yet for whatever reason, we were not supposed to have more than one a day. This would have been annoying, but OK. However, that leader proceeded to ignore her own rule, and have more than a few snacks per day. That aggravated me and many other volunteers and certainly did a lot to undermine that leader’s character and authority. I am sure you have encountered a similar situation where a leader set standards that they themselves could not or would not follow. So when you are leading, and setting rules, be the first to follow them. And if you cannot, then you think twice about whether they are good guidelines or rules for your group.

Secondly, a leader must remain accountable for their actions. One of the best ways to do this is to have an accountability partner, coach or mentor who is involved in your life and can recognize areas you are slacking especially if they are character areas.  Buddy is on the board of an organization that does not even spend $500 without the approval of the board.  This creates great accountability for leader and engenders confidence in the rest of the people involved in the organization.

Finally make sure that you are really being honest with others in these situations.  Some parents discipline lying that most because if you are OK with lying all other sins become possible.  If you are not honest with the people in your life accountability becomes a game just like everything else.  If you haven’t been honest with someone in your life, go back and apologize and start over and work at being honest with everyone important in your world.

If you do not have someone who keeps you accountable, consider talking with someone who has a similar leadership position or a friend who is not directly involved in your organization. It can be a mutual accountability, or one way, but the key is to make sure you have someone who will keep you on track, both with your organization and with God.