It’s Hard To Be Humble?
Exploring leadership, I do understand that it is very easy to criticize from the sidelines. However, I also shout loudly for reflective practice to fess up and offer congruent, genuine apologies when you know you should. A friend once said she didn’t apologise as it made too a big deal out of the situation but while this may have supported her ego, hiding her blunder, this style of behaviour creates toxic feelings. The same feelings are created in the workplace, yet how easy it is to create openness and respect by accepting responsibility, where matters can be discussed and new actions forged ahead. The strength of humility.
Humility bares the strength of great Leadership. How simple life can be…
Humility was a lesson I learned many years ago whilst working as an assistant to a finance director; let’s call him Barry. Barry was a personable chap and clients enjoyed easy rapport with the humor he used in active listening so instantly he could hone to how that individual ticked. Clients liked Barry. He recognised their ambitions and understood how this was driven by passion and purpose. Barry presupposed that everybody set out with good intentions, to do the right thing, though sometimes things do go belly up too so the salient point was how well and how quickly matters could be put right again. It was all about simplicity. Keep relationships simple, straightforward and open and, seasoned with a hefty sprinkle of humor, of course.
Driving was an essential yet enjoyable aspect of Barry’s work, and how could it not be with visits to clients around Hampshire’s leafy green New Forest and the sleepy seaside towns of Dorset?
But inevitably from driving so many miles and, on a clear sunny day, Barry drove right through a red traffic light where the whale of a siren quickly sounded and flashing blue light appeared. As always, the British Bobby was the height of good manners and asked if Barry was a tourist, a stranger to the area, by way of a possible explanation for breaking the law.
Clinging to this olive branch, a sure route to avoiding the destined hefty fine with the scourge of driving license points, Barry smiled before calmly answered no, he had lived in Bournemouth for the last 25 years and honestly, he wasn’t far away from his office so knew the roads very well indeed. He continued and explained he had no excuse at all and that undoubtedly, he had foolishly passed directly through a red light. Barry was obviously embarrassed as he accepted his destiny. He described how he felt and added he agreed that quite rightly, the policeman was fully justified in cautioning him and issuing the appropriate retribution. With humility, Barry offered genuine apologies and repeated his foolishness was without reprieve.
The policeman nodded and listened. No need to comment or further admonish as Barry had already done this so well. Instead, the policeman smiled in return, “thank you sir, you have demonstrated what you have learned from this situation so please, please don’t ever do this again…”
The values of simplicity and humility bars the strength of great Leadership. How straightforward life really is…