Essential skills for aspiring leaders: Humbleness

Humility – this little critter is a secret weapon to your leadership success and not a topic that comes up very often in the workplace or anywhere really.  

Leaders are built – not born.

No one is born a great leader or manager. They learn, adapt, grow, hone skills and improve – sometimes by trial and error over time.

Be focused and curious – always!

I can attest from my experience that being focused and curious are key. Focus on key strengths and be inquisitive at every opportunity to grow and develop that strength.

Finding out where to focus and what to be curious about can be a challenge.

Based on my personal experience, these are the 5 essential skills that aspiring leaders and managers need to be successful.

The big 5!

#1 Awareness

#2 Communication

#3 Courage

#4 Humbleness

#5 Ownership

I will dive into the nitty-gritty of these in separate posts.

Work hard, stay focused and develop your strengths. This worked for me and it just might work for you too.

Today’s post is #4 on my list – Humbleness. To hone your skills and learn about the other essential skills, click on the links above.

#4 Humbleness 

Humility – this little critter is a secret weapon to your leadership success and not a topic that comes up very often in the workplace or anywhere really.

Back in the day….

Did you know that, back in the day, if you displayed humility or were being humble it was seen as weak leadership. What were they thinking back then…?

FYI  – that’s not how it’s done anymore!

Humility in leadership is a must and you need to have the courage to use it.

Not knowing all the answers is a strength

You can be humble by:

  • admitting you don’t know everything
  • benefiting from the expertise of others
  • apologising for your own mistake then fixing it.

Mentor’s – Red Hot Tip

If you make a mistake –

Do: Admit it – Own it – Fix it – Learn from it – Move on.

Do not: Oversell it by carrying on like you’re auditioning for a revival of Shakespeare in the modern era! You’re not after an Academy Award – you want the respect of your team.

Your team don’t want a perfect – ‘knower of all things’ – leader or manager. They want a consistent and honest leader who is willing to show that their human side.

Manage your fears – how fears are the new warm and fuzzy

Manage your fears – how fears are the new warm and fuzzy (insert cute kitten pic here)
Boo! – Manage your (leadership) fears to be warm and fuzzy – like me.

If you’re new to leadership or leading a new team then you will have some fears – and that’s okay. It’s even a good thing.

Knowing your fears means you can manage them rather than being tempted to bluff your way through, by busting out your authority and influencing others negatively. Be mindful of what you fear as this can push you to drive your team the wrong way.

What do you fear?

  • not being good enough
  • not hitting those sales target
  • making hard decisions
  • not having the same level of technical skill as your staff
  • not being liked by your staff
  • being told off, or
  • all of the above.

The solution – use the fear to your advantage. Let go of the control and see what happens. Pick a (low risk) project or decision and support your staff to manage it entirely – you might be surprised.

In my experience the fear won’t disappear entirely however, you can understand how it affects you and manage it to be an effective leader.

How saying this will change your life!

“Hi, how can I help you to do your job better?”

Then do this…. listen.

This simple powerful act will disrupt your thinking and earn you trust and respect with your team.

But don’t stop there – put small steps and changes into place based on what you hear. Ask others if they feel by doing X it will help to achieve Y and so on.

Consistently continue with this approach and respect individuals’ ideas and input. Remember, it’s your team members that do the hands-on real work and who know how to do a great job. This approach has worked really well for me and it will work for you too.


The core task of leadership is to build high performing teams.

When good leaders practice good leadership behaviours – teams and organisations thrive. When leaders practice bad leadership behaviours, teams diminish, and organisations fail to thrive.

Remember nobody makes a mistake on purpose. Nobody comes to work and says to themselves ‘ I am going to intentionally get it wrong today.’

Focus on the well-being of your team and support them to do their jobs well. As a humble leader you must keep your feet on the ground and keep working towards gaining the respect of your team.

Being a humble leader will greatly improve individual performance and organisational success and, being a humble leader is one of the most powerful things you can do.

Never stop learning,


In the next post I will talk about the next essential strength aspiring managers and leaders need to be successful – #5 Ownership – ownership will make you a better person and naturally, a better leader.


  1. Gina November 12, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    So true, Rex. The combination of humility and courage goes a long way to building authenticity and trust – critical in leaders. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Pingback: Essential skills for aspiring leaders: Awareness – Clear Coaching Institute

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *