A Slice of Humble Pie, Anyone?

By August 8, 2014 No Comments

humblePicture a successful corporate leader, and you’ll probably envision a direct, confident, even aggressive personality.  It might be time to challenge that paradigm, though.  While the vision of a bold person may be the first to spring to mind for most of us, there’s evidence suggesting that, in fact, humble people make the most effective leaders.

The University of Washington’s Foster School of Business conducted the study, which had employees grade their supervisors on humility and consider their own engagement and satisfaction.  And findings indicated that teams led by humbler leaders were more satisfied in their jobs and less likely to leave.  Researchers drew the conclusion that the practices common among quieter leaders – attentive listening, transparency, valuing contributors’ contributions – inspire greater engagement among staff.

It should be noted, too, that while the notion of a more circumspect manager as being more effective than perhaps a charismatic one has been backed up by renowned business consultant and author, Jim Collins.  Collins conducted a five-year study following 11 companies, finding that the leaders with the combined traits of extreme personal humility and intense professional will were able to transform good companies into great ones.

There’s certainly an argument here for considering more reserved candidates when hiring managers.  The “quiet ones” may be the ones who are able to drive change where the larger-than-life leaders may come up short.

Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.  

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