The idea of leader humility can seem counterintuitive. Some people think of leaders as being strong and humility as being weak. But leader humility simply means feeling and displaying a deep regard for others’ dignity—a respect for their self-worth. That’s an idea most people can get behind. Humility is a strength because leaders relate to many people.
Our times are often called “unprecedented.” The challenges we’re facing make leadership more important than ever. Leaders need to oversee our work, keep us safe, handle so much that’s unexpected, and, hopefully, guide us to greener pastures. Can humility make leaders more effective during these crises? Yes, it can.
Here are three tips for leading with humility during a crisis that will show employees they matter:
Understand you’re not the only one feeling stress. Whether you manage a team that is on the front lines of the pandemic, comprised of essential workers, or working remotely from home, all of your people are operating under strain. Their work involves more complexity and uncertainty than ever before, a state that’s been prolonged for all of us. Make time to ask how it’s going and offer whatever support you can to make a difference.
Be sure to communicate what’s happening with your business. There’s a lot of fear in the air, and some of it is justified. If your business or situation is solid, people will be reassured to hear that. If you’re struggling, people will appreciate your transparency in letting them know what you’re doing to survive.
If you’re forced to make cuts, make sure that your practices are as humane as possible. Consider furloughs instead of layoffs. Temporarily reduce retirement contributions, for example, before you let people go.
Show gratitude for the work everyone is doing. Finally, pay attention to what is going well and let people know you see them doing that. The humility you show in these ways will pay dividends now—and after we recover.
**Originally published at Leadership Freaks