Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Many leaders start their careers humbly, but they lose sight of their ability to make mistakes and hold onto power over time. So, how can you ensure that you are not becoming arrogant as a leader? Awareness is the first step! Today we’ll talk about the signs you might be misusing your authority and five ways that you can actively work on being a humble leader.
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” - Jim Rohn
Signs Leaders are Misusing Their Power
Are you interested in learning from others?
Do you ask for help and guidance?
Do you show humility and ask for the input of others?
Have you dedicated yourself to developing your direct reports, empowering them, and creating development opportunities?
Or has your ego taken over?
Do you find it easy to focus on your own objectives and forget about the big picture?
Do you become jealous when others succeed?
Do you see intimidation as a way to get people to act?
Why do leaders misuse their power?
Some leaders misunderstand leadership and look for compliance instead of engagement. As leaders rise through the ranks, they usually have less oversight, so no one may notice their behavior until it escalates. Leaders who willingly misuse their power do so because they do not think they will get caught.
5 Ways to be a Leader of Humility
Ask Questions: You don’t know everything, and it’s okay to admit that to your team!
Show Your Scars: People want to learn from leaders who have learned through their mistakes. When you share your struggles, they know that even good leaders mess up.
Surround Yourself with People Who Are Smarter Than You: Even a leader should never be the most competent person in the room. Build your team with people who will make you better!
Be Open to Feedback: You can’t see your own blind spots.
Say “Thank You”: It’s arrogant not to acknowledge the excellent work of those who are actively contributing to your success. A paycheck is not enough to keep your team engaged. They need to know that the work they are doing matters.
Send an email to your boss, a few peers, and all your direct reports asking them three things: 1. What do they see as your leadership strengths? 2. What suggestions do they have for improving your leadership? 3. What resources can they recommend to leverage your strengths and help improve your leadership? Take their feedback seriously! How you respond can dramatically influence the way people see your leadership.
One sign that leaders are becoming self-focused is that they silo themselves from other people and departments. Think about the way that you make decisions. Are you making decisions in a vacuum, or are you allowing other people to give input? How do you respond when someone challenges your decision? If you tend to focus on your own opinions when you make decisions, strategically plan to bring someone else into the planning process. Ask them to challenge your ideas and ask them questions based on their area of expertise.
When was the last time you shared a failure that you experienced? What did you share? Many leaders find it challenging to share their struggles, and those who do, tend to focus on mistakes they made years or even decades ago. Think about a challenge you faced less than a year ago. What happened? What mistakes did you make? What did you learn from them? How did you overcome the error? Spend some time thinking about the story. Who on your team would benefit from hearing this story? Do any parts of the situation need to be confidential? How can you share your experience without violating anyone else’s confidence?