More traits of a humble leader.
Connection to Followers
With the synergies established between virtues and intellectual humility, being humble relates to the connection to humanity (Roberts &Wood). Hayes and Comer describe this type of humility as being able to “see the importance of other’s ideas, stop, and listen to them” (p.13). Each day the leader demonstrates humanness sharing how they face the same triumphs and barriers as everyone. In other words, they refuse the VIP treatment and look to be just one person in the crowd.
Jim Collins explains this trait as personal humility. The top leaders, Level 5, showed an ability to “channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company”. Collins developed the formula that humility plus will equals a Level 5 leader. The concept of being human helps the follower to see the true personality of the leader.
Open and Authentic
Traits of humility in leaders that provide one of the foundational pieces in answering the question of developing humility in leaders are the traits of being open and authentic. The reason these traits are important is the connection to and similarity with authentic leadership. Authenticity, at times, provides a picture of low self-esteem for the leader, but Morris shows in their research that low self-esteem is actually associated with lower levels of humility. To be open and authentic does not require a person to lose confidence, but the opposite is true where humble leaders practicing open and authentic traits “have no need to prove anything by telling people how good they are” (Hayes & Comer).
From the authentic leadership also comes another benefit. “Authentic leaders are likely to be supportive of their followers by being fair in dealings with followers, continually emphasizing the growth of followers, considering the needs of others before their own” (Morris). The research by Morris found that leader humility is a prediction to supportiveness toward others. Oddly, this research showed that humble leaders are more likely to show egalitarian actions in communicating to others. Through more engaged and supportive followers, the open and authentic leaders increase their effectiveness.
Follows a Greater Call
The last trait is the most important for the success of an organizational leader. Humble leaders not only have to understand the complexities of the organization, ask the right questions, connect to others around them, and lead openly and authentically, but humble leaders also have to focus on something greater than self. Christianity and other monotheistic religions such as Judaism and Islam teach humility because there is a God. For the research paper, the trait of a humble leader can include religious humility, but even without religion, there is transcendence. In the attempt to develop humble leaders, a person has to see the organizational transcendence. There is something bigger than one leader or even one group of leaders. “People with humility don’t deny their power; they just recognize that it passes through them, not from them” Ken Blanchard.