Humility is the shortcut.
We do several assignments in our leadership classes in which students are asked to self-evaluate their work. They give themselves points, and a grade, based on how well they feel they performed. The scoring of their work is more of an insight into their thoughts on themselves than it is on their work on that particular assignment.
As I get to know the students more and more throughout the year, there is a clearly consistent theme to the character traits that reveal themselves for the different types of student scoring. Here’s a brief rundown:
Why Should We Care?
The application of humility has more impact on our leadership, and impact, than any other attitude, technology, or tool we can find. Humility literally colors every aspect of our leadership and life. When applied, large doses preferred, who we affect, how we affect them, and to what level we affect them are all enhanced.
Humility is welcoming. It draws others to us. As much as we think we like the motivational, charismatic speech that gets our blood pumping, what we realize quickly is that it never lasts and fails to create long term connections. Humility does the opposite. It binds people together, not through a single grand gesture but through a thousand small, seemingly unimportant, acts. It’s the consistency of humility that draws people in.
Humility is transformational, not transactional. It aims for deep connection and significant purpose, not superficial motivation and bravado. Humility sits well with us. It inspires us to become better versions of ourselves. It doesn’t waste time on fleeting motivation.
Humility prompts work. It’s hard to justify the need to work in the absence of humility. If you’re already good enough, why would you work? Humility impresses on us that we are never as good as we can be. We can always improve, always get better. This should not be mistaken for a lack of confidence. The humble are very confident. Confident in their ability to accept. Confident in their ability to persist. Confident in their ability to appreciate.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
Growing humility is not an easy thing to do. Just when we think we’re getting good at it - poof, we’re no longer humble. Here are a few ideas to help you think about how you may be able to grow your humility.
Humility is the shortcut. It’s also the only way to be our best and to have the transformational impact we aspire to have on the people we lead. We need to humble ourselves before someone else does it for us.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.