5 ways to be a more humble leader

Humility comes naturally to some people while others need to cultivate it in order to excel as leaders. Brinda Sarkar brings you expert tips on how you can be more humble as a leader and help all members of the team realise their true potential.

Accept Your Limitations
Leader or not, it is not possible for one person to know everything, and acceptance of this is key to embracing humility. “Always be open to taking others’ opinions and asking for their expertise, when required. Embracing different viewpoints when your own may be limited gives you better perspective, and this is what ultimately propels an organisation forward,” says Prashant Kumar, deputy managing director of human resources, State Bank of India.

Be Open to Learning
Humility makes you more open to learning from everyone you come across. “You can learn from not only your peers but also employees at every level—the security person and even the person who brings you tea. Have a willingness to accept that you know little in the grander scheme of things,” says Prasad Menon, head of human resources, Cleartrip.

Teamwork is Key
Strive to be an inspiring leader as opposed to an authoritative one. One way you can do this is by working closely with your team and understanding the issues that affect each member, says Kumar. “Being a more people-centric leader can automatically build a sense of humility because you learn what others are going through,” he says.

To grow in life, and as a leader, one needs to welcome criticism with an open mind. “Many people tend to build a wall around themselves, and this stops people from reaching them. If you are able to accept that you are a work in progress, it will only help you grow better and people around you will appreciate you more,” says Menon.

Listen Better
You can also embrace humility by listening closely when someone else is speaking. This not only helps you understand better, it also conveys to the other person that he or she is valued by you. “A good listener needs to keep the other person at centrestage—humility is the key here for a meaningful conversation,” says Menon.

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