This is the final post in my blog series which covers three management consulting solutions I learned from coaches in my life. I apply these solutions to my work life in Management Consulting. This blog explores the impacts of humility in leadership.
One of my favorite coaches was my high school swimming and water polo coach. He recently announced his retirement after teaching and coaching for more than 35 years. He could have announced his retirement prior to the high school swimming season and enjoyed a long (and well deserved) victory lap throughout the season. Instead, he chose to announce his retirement after the season was over. This kind of behavior is typical of the coach – being humble in a position of leadership.
My coach was a leader, but he was never the center of attention. This behavior helped create one of the best team atmospheres I have ever experienced. Some of my teammates won state championships and went on to compete at the highest levels of collegiate swimming. Most would consider this success for a swimming program. I think if you asked my coach, he would say he is more proud of how many of his former student athletes are now coaches of their own programs.
Leadership through humility can help build a high-performing team and more importantly, helps builds future leaders.
Attention, those of you who are in a leadership or supervisory position in a company: you are in that role for a reason. Maybe you were super successful in your previous role. Or maybe you were promoted due to your experience. Whatever the reason, don’t change who you are, and stay humble! I hired and promoted folks who were successful in their individual contributor roles who turned out to be terrible managers! After being promoted, some completely changed how they treated colleagues, others made themself the center of attention and others went into their new office and never came out!
Managers: you are there to build (or enhance) a high-performing team and build future leaders. Be engaged. Give folks a shot. Stay humble.