Saturday, August 29, 2015

Leadership Humility

There are many great definitions of leadership, but one of my favourites is this simple one by the little known Arnold H. Glasow. “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” Leadership must certainly be measured by degrees of humility. The woman or man who does not recognize the contributions of followers or does not recognize that their own success was built upon the foundations of others before them, is no leader. Leadership is experimentation, taking chances, using best guesses, following hunches, and trusting in higher powers. How can one revel in oneself when a particular hunch pays off? Great leaders practise great gratitude.

We have all known those who profess to be leaders while seeking to find a place to lay the blame. They are all too willing to point at their staff or their superiors, “throwing them under the bus.” Leaders will seek to make others successful and will redirect fault: they will either recognize fault with a “buck stops with me” mentality or seek to learn from the problem and move on without pointing at anyone.

Certainly, it is okay to take a share of the credit, but it is a whole team that moves an organization forward. When there is significant recognition, the pseudo-leader is like a “black hole” of credit, allowing nothing to escape absorption, whereas the accolades will quickly reflect off a true leader’s convex surface to shine back on others.

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