Wisdom//

Why is Humility a Key Leadership Quality?

In praise of "humble power."

jayk7/Getty Images
jayk7/Getty Images

A lot of people today, in their pursuit of success and wealth, have forgotten or disregarded key personality traits that actually would have helped them achieve both.

Probably the most severely lacking? Humility.

Both those seeking wealth and those who already have it have, for the large part, forgotten about the importance of humility entirely. Just think of people flashing their Lamborghini’s and giant houses on Instagram or Facebook. What they’re prioritizing implicitly or otherwise is the appearance of success, suggesting they care only about what other people think of them.

What they neglect in the process are the concerns, problems, or trials of other people.

This is a mistake. The truth is, humility — and, more specifically, humble power — can get you so much farther than flaunting.

Here’s why.

Humble power can forge deeper relationships with fans, customers, and friends.

It fosters respect.

When you go out into the world showcasing humble power — which is a confidence tempered by an appreciation for the continuing struggle of other people — what you’re expressing is that you know you’ve earned your success, but at the same time, you’re not blind. You’re not blind to how other people feel and that they’re still struggling and grinding. And you’re not blind to the fact that you could lose your power if you’re not careful.

To be so confident without that kind of awareness and humility is to be arrogant. And to be arrogant is to make other people resent you. That’s not something you ever want to do. The type of friendships and fanships that will help you sustain your success are those founded upon genuine love and respect. Not resentment.

This is something I was reminded of recently after purchasing my dream house. It’s a beautiful house, built over the course of three years with money I worked hard for. I’m proud of it. But I was hesitant to post a picture of it on my Instagram because I didn’t want my readers and listeners and friends to think I was just being conceited.

So, I decided to temper the post with a caption detailing my story up to that point — how I used to drive by houses like this with just a few dollars in my pocket, wondering if I’d ever get to the point where I could afford my own, let alone one so grand and new. I spoke of the envy I used to feel for people who’d already made it, how I’d sit on my bed in the trailer park I used to live in praying that I’d be like them one day. I talked about the importance of persistence through doubt and pain. I sought to uplift so that my fans and followers could feel like they were sharing my success with me, as opposed to witnessing it from the other side of steel gates.

I posted the picture. It’s now my most liked and commented on post.

And that’s the product of humble power — when you’re not the guy merely bragging about the new house, but instead are the guy seeking to elevate and help everyone who’s striving for the same thing, because you know what it’s like to to be without it.

The person who most embodies humble power is Ethan Willis, who coined the term.

Ethan Willis is a father of 7, with another child on the way. He’s remarkably successful — an entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author — who’s married to a wonderful woman. They’re both very involved in their community and are financially comfortable, to say the least. On top of all that, he has a kind of magnetic presence that I know many people would kill for. When he walks into a room, people notice.

Yet, in spite of all this, he’s not flashy. He never brags. He never forgets about the little guy or the people in his life who’ve helped him get to this point.

He’s humble, in other words, but his humility only serves to make him more impressive, more powerful.

That’s the kind of humble power which can further everyone in their journey to success.

Consider this: how can you have more humility in your life?

The question for all of us, then, should be: how can we live more like that? With quiet confidence. With humility and empathy.

Striking that balance — succeeding without ever forgetting where you came from, or how many other people out there are still struggling, still working their hands to the bone — is how you gain the sort of influence, power, and respect that lasts. It’s a kind of superpower you’ll be able to always turn to in your pursuit of additional wealth and self-improvement.

The key to maintaining it, ultimately, is not allowing your perspective to become deluded by success that’s just temporary.

Originally published on Quora.

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