20 April 2016

Humility; is it a trait all business leaders should have?

Lawrence Jones

Three of my girls – keeping me grounded every day!

I believe so. I’d even go as far as saying it’s an essential requirement for being successful. Unfortunately, it’s also one that is often overlooked for the brash characters who make the most noise and draw all the attention to themselves, away from their businesses. Although arrogance and narcissism get some people a few rungs up the career ladder, I think a very different approach to business is required from the top down.

When we think of leaders, we often envision someone who is strong and confident and able to convince and direct others. We are less likely to think of leaders as being honest and supportive, and we rarely think of them as a member of a successful team; yet, great leaders show integrity, admit their mistakes and learn from them. This way, they set an example to the team they work with and are able to create a strong company culture.

There have been a number of recent studies which found that more humble leaders experience greater commitment and performance from their employees, leading to increased productivity.

Can you get this loyalty if you run your business like a dictator?

Business leaders must recognise when they need to ask for help, because something isn’t exactly your area of expertise, or when you’re best to leave a task to someone else completely. Have complete faith in the abilities of your team; I think it’s this empowerment for everyone to get involved in the decision-making process and for all to be able to voice their ideas and opinions, which can take our business to the next level.

Ultimately, I’m convinced that if I want my business to continue to be as innovative as it has the potential to be, I can’t be the only person to have any say on its future. Instead, I make sure nobody’s hard work goes unnoticed and important achievements are always rewarded.

Taking the humble approach meant I’ve had great opportunities to reach out to people and build important working relationships. It’s helped me avoid becoming complacent or start resting on my laurels.

I don’t profess to know everything; far from it – I’m always looking to improve, both on a business and a personal level. Throughout my life and personal career I’ve had a drive to keep learning and overcome challenges. Personal development is one of the most important objectives of my business, and I extend this value to my team. .

Importantly, I don’t think humility has anything to do with a lack of pride or confidence. It’s ok to work hard and be proud of what you’ve achieved, as long as there’s a balance and you can continue to look at your business with a clear perspective.

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