Humility Misunderstood

“You shouldn’t gloat about anything you’ve done; you ought to keep going and find something better to do.” – Hewlett-Packard

People often think that being humble is a lack of self-confidence or being timid. There’s more than one meaning for the word and in a culture that encourages individuality and selling ourselves to get ahead, “humility” has a bad rap. One of the meanings of humility according to dictionary.com is “not proud or arrogant, to be modest,” and that’s the word being explored here.

That humility is dressed up in the beautiful colors of sincerity, honesty and wisdom. It is a humility that maintains a quiet pride in who you are, your achievements, your worth without arrogance, pretence, inflation of the ego, shameless, flashy and meretricious selling of oneself. This kind of humility lets your talents and work speak for itself and once that happens, you soon have others vouching for you, recommending you, praising your work and the person that you are!

Successful leaders that are secure in themselves and their achievements are also humble – they have no need for tooting their own horn and no place for arrogance. A humble leader treats everyone with respect, not like they’re above or better than everyone else.

Bruna Martinuzzi talks about Level 5 leaders that steer their egos away from themselves to leading their company to greatness – “These leaders are a complex, paradoxical mix of intense professional will and extreme personal humility. They will create superb results but shun public adulation, and are never boastful. They are described as modest. An example of such a leader who epitomized humility is David Packard, the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, who, in Jim Collins’ words, defined himself as a HP man first and a CEO second. He was a man of the people, practicing management by walking around. Shunning all manner of publicity.”

These types of leaders are clearly not timid or insecure; they are admirable leaders that espouse a quality that is becoming a rarity. Embracing humility means getting rid of pretence, arrogance, and inflated egos, being truly confident and secure, being respectful and open, which then will lead to improved relationships and recognition. And when you reach that place, you will shine as a leader and achieve true greatness!

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