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Friday, February 16, 2018

Lean Quote: Lead With Humility

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." — President Abraham Lincoln

Monday, is President’s Day, a federal holiday to honor past Presidents of the United States. President "Honest Abe" Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, is one of America's best known presidents, remembered, not just for the key events of his political life but for the arc of his remarkable life story that saw him rise from very humble origins to become President, only to have his life cut short by assassin John Wilkes Booth.

Lincoln's statement is simply profound. Are you a humble leader? Do you try to impress others by letting them know how smart you are? Many of us may do this without even realizing it.

Humility may not be a trait that immediately comes to mind when thinking about leadership strengths. Humility is even considered by some to be more of a weakness than a strength—“Leaders must have backbone! They have to be strong and confident, not meek and subservient!” I don’t think humility is a weakness, I think it is an essential quality of a strong leader. In fact, I think it takes strength to be humble!

It’s OK to share mistakes in order to let others know that we do not have all the answers, to be transparent in the corporate setting and to engage workgroups for the professional and personal growth of everyone involved. Humility nudges us to be inclusive—to be open to varied perspectives which leads to the empowerment of others and ultimately demonstrates courage, ability and confidence.

Humility also enriches our lives and the lives of those around us, making us mindful of our own limitations. It’s an indispensable ingredient to living an abundant life and an essential virtue that forces one to live counter to acceptable norms, requiring a daily decision to let go of one’s ego.
Leaders who embrace humility are able to welcome the input of others and understand that decisions should be made in the best interest of the team or organization. People want their work to be valued, and they also value those who are not dismissive and embrace their positive contributions. The leader who is able to leave their ego at the door, accepts the individual strengths of their team members to work for the overall good or is able to exhibit trust that benefits the entire team, ensuring they’ll be well respected. Any team member will be excitedly loyal and productive when they recognize and know that their leaders are not afraid to work arm in arm with them.

Be a change agent. Lead by example. No matter how much we try to distance ourselves, we are still in need of each other. Our true measure is based on the number of lives we touch and not by the number of things we collect.

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