Avoiding narcissism and embracing humility will inspire employee loyalty and improve teamwork.
Humility is an essential attribute for a great leader. After all, if you can't acknowledge your weaknesses or recognize the role of others in your successes, it will be that much harder to build your business.
As John Dame, CEO of Dame Management Strategies, and Jeffrey Gedmin, CEO of the Legatum Institute, explain in a post for the Harvard Business Review,"Humility has nothing to do with being meek, weak, or indecisive." Instead, they say, humility "inspires loyalty, helps to build and sustain cohesive, productive team work, and decreases staff turnover."
Learn to cultivate your humbler side with these four tips:
1. Be open to ideas.
You don't know everything, so realize when you need outside opinions. "Rely on those who have relevant qualification and expertise," say Dame and Gedmin. "Know when to defer and delegate." And remember: The best ideas don't always from the 'experts.' Listen to your employees, especially those who rarely get the microphone.
2. Don't buy your own lines.
When you're promoting your company, you naturally focus on the good, and that's right for some scenarios. But be careful of dwelling only on your successes or of thinking that you're light-years ahead of the competition. "Drinking in the glory of a triumph can be energizing. Too big a drink is intoxicating," the duo warns. "It blurs vision and impairs judgment."
3. Serve your employees.
One of your most important roles as a leader is to help your employees, guide them and pull them up. A leader's job is to serve, not to instill servitude. "Employees quickly figure out which leaders are dedicated to helping them succeed, and which are scrambling for personal success at their expense," Dame and Gedmin write.
4. Learn from Einstein.
Humility will let you stay curious, ask questions and ponder the reasoning behind things you do not understand. Education is a continuous process, and curiosity will lead to knowledge. No matter how much you know, there's always more you can learn about your industry or related businesses. But don't take it from Dame and Gedmin -- take it from Albert Einstein, who once said, "I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious."
WILL YAKOWICZ is a reporter at Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and politics at Patch.com, and his work has been published in Tablet Magazine and The Brooklyn Paper. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. @WillYakowicz