Friday, July 26, 2019

Lean Quote: Life is a Long Lesson in 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.


"Life is a long lesson in humility." — James M. Barrie

Humility is a hall mark of great men. The greater the position one climbs, humbler one generally becomes. Really great men rarely need the crutches of instant recognition and adulation. 

Leaders sometimes get too caught up in their success to a point where they are showboating their accomplishments or trying to convince people of their greatness. The fact is, no one is inspired by showboats. Bragging about your accomplishments and greatness will result in dissociation and disconnect with your team. Instead, leaders with exceptional character earn a lot more respect and admiration. Humble leaders will use their skills, experience and knowledge to attract and inspire followers, bring people together and contribute to their community. Such leaders inspire people and align them to their vision. And humility is the core ingredient that every leader should possess and strive for.

Being humble means being aware of, and admitting, what you don’t know. It means being ok making mistakes and asking for help. When you are humble you open yourself up to continuous growth and learning, and you prime yourself to handle the inevitable lows of business with grace and dignity.

Humility is genuine concern for others. Humility means being a better listener, being more patient with others, being helpful to utter strangers when help is sought for and letting others have their glory. Humility is in doing great and small acts of kindness without letting others know. Humility is in making peace with other’s imperfections and being more tolerant.

Being humble as a leader makes you more relatable and approachable. In turn, it creates a more humanistic work environment where your employees will feel more comfortable being open, taking risks and showing vulnerability.

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.

Humility is like underwear, essential, but indecent if it shows.


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