With smart devices and AI beginning to dominate the workforce, the characteristics of an ideal job candidate have changed. Companies no longer need team members who can just solve a problem; they need leaders who can figure out the next problem that needs solving.
Leaders are inspirational, equipped with an astute ear, and ready to break the mold at any moment and take risks. Topping the necessary skillset of leaders in the digital age is something technology has yet to master.
It comes down to one word: humility.
With humility comes admitting mistakes, taking the road less traveled, and putting yourself in the passenger seat from time to time while coaching others as they take the lead.
For those reasons, it's a tough trait to master. It means focusing less on yourself despite being raised to do the opposite.
5 ways humility will give you an edge
To learn ways one can practice to humility as a leader, I spoke with Aaron Meyers, the president and COO of Hammer & Nails Grooming Shop for Guys, the premier grooming destination for men.
Meyers makes the effort to practice humility to build his business and grow into a respected leader in the industry. Here are his top five ways of mastering the art of humility.
Set aside time at work to reflect on the past few weeks. Reflect only on what you had control over, and take note of your worries, strengths and weaknesses in those situations. If you journal, Meyers shared, make your reflection productive -- don't use it as an outlet to complain, but rather a creative space where ideas, plans, and best practices live, then refer back to them often to benefit both yourself and your team.
2. Team first attitude.
Humility boils down to focusing less on the 'me' and more on the 'we.' Meyers shared that his leadership style follows the narrative of a quote he read by Paul Bryant: "If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it. That's all it takes to get people to win for you." For a team to become a well-oiled machine, spend time tending to others' needs, spread the wealth, solicit opinions, be open to criticism and mentor team members to take the lead. "Being on the front line is all about building others up," says Meyers.
3. Exercise vulnerability.
"Leaders can ask for help, too. Just like your team relies on you, you need to rely on them," shared Meyers. We all have different strengths, and it doesn't make anyone less than to admit they don't know everything. This is why leaders should be open to new experiences, take risks, lean on their team and put trust in others to get the job done. Plain and simple, you can't do it all.
4. Listen to learn.
Giving someone your undivided attention is challenging. When you're not speaking, your mind automatically starts formulating your response. We're walking into most conversations with an agenda because we're programmed to think ahead. "Try approaching your next meeting like it's improv -- you have to listen to what the other person is saying and move the story forward from there," Meyers explained, adding, "Reverting back to your idea is moving the narrative backward. This trick will help you listen to learn, giving you a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset."
5. Make mistakes a positive.
Meyers shared with me that the Hammer & Nails concept was first introduced on Shark Tank, and was promptly rejected. It was a setback, but by no means the end of the road. "Others got involved, we were transparent about our concept's shortcomings, and we sampled ideas until we found one that worked," shared Meyers. Mistakes are part of the journey as a leader and entrepreneur, whether you're just starting out or are well-established. He adds, "Don't be afraid to make them and admit to them, but be sure you are always taking something valuable away with you." As a result, Hammer & Nails now spans 11 locations with an additional eight in development.