Are you a humble leader?

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By Stephane Leblanc, Founder and CEO, International Centre for Conscious Leadership

In leadership as in society, we often find people that use their status and titles to impress others. Some wealthy people compete with each other for the biggest house, business jet or yacht as these material possessions are seen as a demonstration of their success. This need to use our material possessions as a demonstration of our success is not reserved to the wealthy as most brands appeal to the ego of their clients which is why it is so common for them to put the logo of their brand on the outside of the products as people who buy these products want everyone to know that that associate themselves with this brand.

Most people are living within the societal program we have all been indoctrinated into when we started school as children which focuses on performance, rewards and consumption and most people never get out of this program as they don't know that they can out of it with the result that they lives are mostly by their ego.

Humility is a sign of evolution and transformation. As Rick Warren once said, "True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.'' 

When we have not done any inner work or transformation work, we are controlled by our ego needs that are not well managed such as our need for security, our need to be loved and appreciated and our need to be recognized. As children, we all want to stay alive, to be loved and to know we matter for someone. As most of us have not done healing or transformation work, we are really children in adult bodies. We might look like adults but inside of us, we still have the same needs we had as children. 

We can spot this easily in society with people that are arrogant, superficial, are always trying to show off their wealth or are always trying to be seen on social media. There is nothing wrong with being confident, but arrogance usually camouflages insecurity. People who are confident with who they really are do not need to be superficial and although they might appreciate quality things, they don't have a need to show them off.

In business, we often find leaders enamored with status who have large offices, drive luxury cars, fly in business jets and eat in executive dining rooms. Most of these are perks usually reserved to senior executives with the goal of making them more efficient and they can also result in the executives being disconnected from those they lead.

I remember when I worked in a large manufacturing company that was going through significant financial challenges and was laying off thousands of people. I was on the top floor of our building meeting with our President and other senior executives and I felt bad that we were eating a lunch prepared by an executive chef equivalent to the food from a 5-star restaurant and I told the President it was not right and that we should go eat with the employees. His response was that we were senior executives and this was a perk aimed at making us more efficient. Shortly after, this same President flew to Europe in a large business jet alone to attend a business conference. 

People that have done some inner work to transform themselves, learn to manage the needs of their ego and they make the shift from I to WE. They learn to focus on the needs of others and make a difference in other's lives. They are also ready to admit that they don't have all the answers and they stop trying to prove that they are better than everyone else. These people are humble and they are in service to others and society.

As we have all been taught that we need to prove ourselves, we spend most of our lives trying to prove our worth which is why it is such a privilege to meet a humble person as it is usually the result of a lot of inner work and transformation work to be able to manage the needs of the ego.

In leadership, conscious leaders are usually humble leaders as they are in service to their organization, their people and their clients. Instead of distancing themselves from their people, they are willing to get in the trenches and show their team they are willing to work with them. They support their team in any way and remove obstacles. They are deeply connected to their team and help everyone rise to their full potential.

Instead of making themselves feel important, they make others feel important by asking questions, by asking for help and empowering their team. They also focus on gratitude and recognize everyone for their contribution.

Are you ready to be a humble leader?