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Blog Posts (25)
- 6 Reasons to Be Humble as a Leader
The world is full of leaders that are full of themselves. The ability to be humble can be difficult even for those not in leadership positions. We all know someone who's ego can inflate like a bubble and is often just as fragile. To be humble, one must think less highly of themselves than they should. Humility is often mistaken for weakness, lack of self esteem or insecurity. Those comparisons are far from fair however and fall short of capturing what humility actually is. The ability to be humble requires a strong mind and heart with an ability to accept that we are not perfect. Author C.S. Lewis said it best. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less - C.S. Lewis Accepting you aren't perfect, does not mean you don't have value. Giving others credit does not mean you didn't contribute. Admitting a mistake doesn't make you weak, it makes you wise. Understanding these key characteristics of being humble can open a whole new perspective for you. We are going to walk through six reasons you should be humble as a leader. When put into practice, humility can take you far and can bring others along with you. You will learn more, connect better with others and ultimately go further than you ever will with an ego. Having pride in who you are and the work you produce is important but there must be a balance. The goal is to find the balance between pride (not ego) and humility! Reason #1 - A humble person empowers others A humble leader impacts those around them in many positive ways. Many of these impacts are indirect signals to those in their circle of influence. These subconscious cues make it okay to: Make mistakes Try new things Make decisions Step up and lead Take accountability When a leader is humble enough to know that all productivity and results come from the team and not just them, the team is empowered. Whether it is teammates, colleagues, kids or anyone the leader influences; being humble in success or defeat is vital to the team's success. The team must know that they are allowed to step up and lead without fear of reprisal or stolen credit. Kids must know that they can try new things and make mistakes without fear of punishment from a parent. If you want to talk about a how to be humbled check out our article about how being a parent is arguably the hardest leadership job in the world. Showing you are humble through accountability is a fantastic way to earn trust from your team. Especially in difficult situations, humility to shoulder the load and accept responsibility for the team, family or project, paints the leader in a positive light. Reason #2 - Being humble helps you adapt If there was any one skill that we could point to, that everyone should develop in today's world, its flexibility. In order to have flexibility of the mind, you must be humble enough to accept the need for change. Any person that has ever set out to accomplish something has experienced some kind of "change of plans." Having the humility to be flexible and adapt your plan to the situation gives you a competitive advantage over someone who's ego won't let them recognize the need for change. Change is inevitable in today's world and the person that can stay humble typically has an edge in changing faster and more deliberately. This mental flexibility gives humble leaders and individuals alike the ability to adapt to the complex and ever changing world we live in. Reason #3 - Learn more and learn faster Being humble about what you know or what you don't know allows you the openness of mind to learn new things and learn them faster. This happens because the humble leader knows they can learn something from anyone. The world is so large and complex and every person you meet is so unique, that it is almost impossible not to learn something from everyone. That is, if you are willing to be humble and accept that no matter your station in life, there is something that can be learned from others. The leader who feels the only people they can learn from are those above them or on the same "level" they are, is the leader who learns slowly. The higher you go, the smaller your circle and the less people you have to learn from. Why limit your options in such a way? On the other hand, the leader that is humble enough to recognize the value of diverse perspectives, grows so much faster. A leader with humility knows that even the new employee that started yesterday, might have something to offer even the most seasoned executive. "The capacity to learn is a gift, the ability to learn is a skill, the willingness to learn is a choice" - Brian Herbert Reason #4 - Better empathize and connect with others Be humble about your station in life, about the position you find yourself in or the blessings you enjoy. No matter what, there is always someone with more money than you and less money than you. A bigger house, newer car or a smaller house and older car, knowing that your life isn't the only life worth living is an empowering understanding. It is powerful because being humble allows us to empathize and connect with others faster and in a more meaningful way. When you aren't so absorbed or wrapped up in your own life, it is easier to look around you and understand where others might be coming from. Having the humility to put your own concerns, fears or doubts aside opens your mind to understanding other people's situations. As a leader, empathy and an ability to connect with others are critically important skills you must master. The more humble you are, the more altruistic you can be. The more altruistic you are, the easier it is to connect and empathize with others. Reason #5 - Humility earns you more respect The person that can be humble about what they have will earn the respect of those around them. No one likes a show off. Bragging about what you have, earn or do, leads to jealousy and animosity from those around you. If you were to constantly walk around flaunting your wealth or position, people might be impressed in the short term but find it difficult to connect with you. Worse, they might start to resent you and even despise you for what you have. On the other hand, being humble despite your circumstances, helps others relate to you and connect with you. When they connect with you and know you more than for what you have, they will not only admire you but respect you. Respect is far more important than admiration. Learning to be humble (and genuine in your humility) will endear you to those in your circle. This allows you as an individual to have far greater influence. People will know that their respect for you won't be taken for granted or flaunted for personal gain. As a leader, the respect of those you wish to serve, is far more valuable than just about anything else. Reason #6 - Being humble allows you to be happier Typically those with large egos live immensely stressful lives. The amount of pressure they put on themselves to live up to the expectations they put on themselves can be enormous. If you can learn to look at your life through the lens of humility then much of that self manufactured pressure goes away. Accepting that we are imperfect people that make mistakes, say dumb things sometimes or occasionally react poorly to situations, can actually free you. Freeing your mind from the self imposed need to be perfect, to live up to what you think people expect of you is a powerful experience. You can relieve an amazing amount of stress by cutting yourself a break. That's where being humble comes into play. If you can learn to be humble and look at your life with an attitude of gratitude then you will be a much happier person. This is way easier said than done but with work, is entirely possible. Humility equals strength Humility is not a weakness, it is a strength. When you can live your life confidently humble, you can find peace and success. Those in your circle of influence will respect you more. Those you meet along the way will come to know you as a humble person who shares success. If you want to reflect a little bit on whether you need a little more humility, here is an assignment. Seek feedback from those whose opinions you trust and ask them, do they see you as a humble person? Graciously accepting their feedback is test number 1! Writing their feedback down is incredibly important so that you can both remember and have the words sink in! We love hearing from our readers! Leave us a comment below and tell us your thoughts!
- 4 Easy Body Language Tips to Project Confidence
Most people understand that communication is important. However, many people make the mistake of thinking communication begins and ends with the written or spoken word. There is another form of nonverbal communication that "speaks" to people just as loudly. Body language is a form of nonverbal communication from a person that is extremely important. Why is body language important? Body language and posture is important because it often communicates so much more than the words we use. Our bodies are constantly sending nonverbal communication signals. The posture of a person can impact how they make people feel, or how they perceive them. This can be more important than what they say to them. Understanding body language really means understanding how the body of a person is positioned. The person's body gives nonverbal communication cues to those around them about their interest in what is happening. Most people send these nonverbal cues subconsciously with their body posture. People read body language all the time, in business meetings, on dates or in social situations. Taking cues from positive body language or negative body language is a great way to gauge the mood or attitude of a person. Reading body language is one of the critical skills people to be successful. If you are hoping to answer the call of leadership then this is one of the tools you absolutely need in your toolbox. Reading body language How many times have you had a conversation with someone and they seem distracted? Perhaps you've experienced trying to discuss something at work and your colleague seems opposed to everything you are saying? They might say they are paying attention or that they agree with you but their body language suggests otherwise. Additionally, you might feel that you aren't perceived the way you wish you were. Perhaps you get unfairly characterized as shy, quiet or insecure. If you feel that you get mischaracterized, your body language might be why. People around you are judging your personality based on your body language. Being aware of what your body language is communicating to others is crucial to functioning in the world around you. Whether it is building relationships, showing empathy or projecting confidence, you can't ignore what your body or posture might be saying. If you want to appear more genuine, authentic and confident with others, then working on your body language will certainly help! People will begin to notice the change pretty quickly! Follow these tips we've prepared below and you will start to see an immediate impact! Tip #1 - Stop crossing your arms and legs We are starting with this tip because it is the most immediate change you can make that will have the biggest impact. However, it is also the most difficult habit to break! Crossing your arms or legs in a conversation, meeting or social setting, sends a strong nonverbal communication signal to the people around you. That signal could be conveying any of the following: I disagree with what is being said I am unhappy with what is being said This conversation/situation stresses me out I'm frustrated by what is happening Subconsciously, this body language is communicating stress, anger, frustration, anxiety or other similar emotions to others. On a primal level, you are protecting your chest (i.e. your heart) from the conversation or situation by "closing it off" with your folded arms. If your aim is to connect with a person or show care and concern, you need to show openness. So the last thing you want to do is cross your arms and/or legs and "close" yourself to that person. This body posture sends a nonverbal signal that you aren't interested in connecting with them. Your body needs to be speaking the same language as your words! If you are finding it difficult to break yourself of this habit, try holding something in your hand(s). Something as small as a pen, can subconsciously keep you from folding your arms. This is an incredibly difficult habit to break but with consistent focus, over time you will get much better at NOT doing it! Tip #2 - Make the right amount of eye contact This tip might seem straightforward yet it is incredible how many people can't do this properly. In today's world of heavy electronic communication, proper eye contact when interacting with people in real life is a key skill. If you fail to maintain proper eye contact, your body language is possibly communicating: This conversation is boring I'm looking for someone else to talk to I'm hiding something from you I'm not confident enough to look you in the eyes 5-7 seconds is the appropriate amount of time to maintain eye contact with someone during a conversation before it gets awkward. Be sure to casually glance away for a second before returning your gaze to the speaker. Where you choose to gaze though is important. Looking up, for example, can be seen as a sign of hiding something. Looking from side to side, could be seen as anxiety. Looking down, could be seen as a sign of guilt or lack of confidence. When breaking eye contact, try simply looking slightly to the left or right of the speakers face for a second before returning. This way you aren't being creepy and staring at the person for too long but you aren't being distracted by looking elsewhere. Tip #3 - Keep your hands open and visible Keeping your hands open and where other people can see them is an easy way to convey openness and authenticity. Conversely, hiding your hands in your pocket or clasping them together sends the opposite signal to people. Similar to crossing your arms, clasping your hands together communicates that you are "closing yourself" to the conversation, meeting, etc. Hiding your hands can be seen as you hiding something or being untruthful. It also sends a message to the other person that you might be insecure about something. When trying to get a point across or convince people of something, try doing it with open palms. Showing your palms to a person is a subconscious way of showing openness and trust in that person. When you convey trust and openness to another person, they are more likely to reciprocate. If you want to go "next level" with how you present your hands, try the hand steeple. Simply place your fingertips together and point them either upwards or towards the other person/audience just like the person in above picture. This is a subtle way to project confidence and strength. Tip #4 - Body language mirroring One of the best ways to improve your body language, is to mirror the body language of other people around you. If you are talking with a person directly and they are engaged in conversation with you, try mirroring what they are doing. Body language mirroring is a great way to subconsciously connect with another person because they feel you share common interests. For example, if they are nodding their head in agreement, do the same. If they have their feet pointing towards you, do the same. If their hands are open and out, do the same! There is a catch to this though, it must be done subtly. Executing this tip improperly will have exactly the opposite of the intended effect and will come off as weird! Don't let that keep you from trying this tip, just start small. Start with a simple gesture like open palms or keeping your feet pointing towards the other person. Bonus tip #5 - Simple way to try this out by changing your posture To get started with the process of improving your body language, try the following in your next conversation with someone: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and pointed towards the other person Keep your arms bent at a 90 degree angle at the elbow with your hands in the steeple position and avoid folding them at all costs Maintain strong eye contact throughout the conversation for 5-7 seconds at a time Nod often and smile when they make key points, this reaffirms that you not only heard them but registered what they said If you practice this in every conversation, you will find that your confidence starts to increase. You will also start to find that other people will view you as more confident and commanding. It's the quickest nonverbal way to make an immediate impact! Your posture and positive body language are important It is important to remember that our communication with other people also happens in more than one language. Verbal and nonverbal communication with another person or group is happening simultaneously. How you are perceived by others is driven by both the words you are saying and the nonverbal cues you give off. Having strong communication skills is one of the many leadership characteristics needed to be a successful leader. Especially for new leaders, this tool should figure prominently in your strategy to grow your skills and abilities. If you want to go deeper on the subject and science of body language, then we definitely recommend the book The Definitive Book of Body Language by Allan and Barbara Pease. This book goes into detail about how much our body language says about us and what it communicates beyond our words. Your body language is an important part of your communication with other people. Understanding your nonverbal communication with others is vital to building your leadership brand! We love hearing from our readers! Leave us a comment below and tell us your thoughts!
- How to Answer the Call of Leadership
Are you considering a leadership role? Are you wondering if you’re ready to answer the call? Are you nervous about your abilities and you’re struggling to make the transition? Are you wondering if this is the right path for you? If so, We’ve been there and we feel you! Standing tall and leaping into leadership is not an easy decision to make, especially not if you’re an introvert. However, if you understand the point of leadership and you have what it takes, you can go on to accomplish incredible things. Let's talk about the lessons you must learn before you leap into leadership and help you understand if this is the right move for you. We will also provide a few strategies for introverts that will help you find success. Answering the call of leadership can be incredibly rewarding and it’s not something you should dismiss out of hand out of fear of failure. What exactly is a leader? When we think of leaders, we often think of someone who can give others direction and mobilize them towards one goal. The characteristics of a leader are important and the impact they have can vary a lot from person to person. What we want you to understand is that being a good leader has nothing to do with how extroverted or introverted you are. It’s more about the ability to think about the big picture and the capacity to influence others positively so that vision can be brought to life. Good leaders have a good sense of the state of the world and they can find unexploited opportunities and identify dangers that may be lurking in the dark. That knowledge is key and they leverage it to determine what things deserve their focus and attention. Leaders are also able to communicate their vision clearly and get other people to see their view so that they are motivated, involved, and inspired to be a part of the effort. How to start seeing yourself as a leader Most people don’t think of themselves as leaders because they think of their contribution in terms of the technical skills they bring to the table. People think of themselves as engineers, marketers, managers, etc., but they don’t think of themselves as leaders. However, when you switch your mindset and start looking at your contributions in terms of being able to guide people towards something new, you will be able to see yourself as a leader. Making a conscious effort to influence someone or a group of people will allow you to recognize your own ability. It will start to feel like a genuine and legitimate part of yourself, something you’re good at. In turn, you will start to internalize the identity of a leader. What you need to learn about leadership If you want to leap into leadership, you must learn a few important lessons about it. The first thing you need to understand is why you want to be a leader to begin with? Instead of thinking about it as the next logical step in your career, you should really look inside yourself and determine what being a leader means to you. Everyone’s path to leadership and motivations are different, but it’s definitely a commitment and a craft. You will learn a lot about yourself based on the path you decide to take on the way to answer the call, trust us! The second thing you need to understand is that leaders need other leaders. If you don’t have someone to turn to, leadership can be lonely and more challenging than it needs to be. Having a leader is not about reporting to someone, it’s about having a soundboard and someone who provides support when you need it most. Having the support of someone who knows what it’s like to be in leadership will allow you to develop your own fortitude and commitment. Not to mention they have so much useful insight! Having access to that will get you through the rough parts of being a leader. Lastly, you need to understand that leadership takes practice. It’s a craft that you will continuously develop and that’s very rewarding, but it’s a big commitment. As a leader, you are in the position to provide the support others need to realize their potential. With that in mind, you must learn to connect with all kinds of people, identify what makes them tick, and be approachable. 10 leadership tips for introverted people Being introverted or shy doesn’t mean you can’t be a good leader. Sure, it makes it a bit tricky, but you know how to get things done and you know what you’re doing. What you need are a few strategies to help you manage your shyness and even leverage it to create your own approach to leadership. 1. Learn to manage your stamina If you’re an introverted person, you have to push yourself to be involved with your team. However, you won’t be able to do that if you don’t learn how to manage your stamina and energy throughout the day. Burning yourself out will make you even more withdrawn, so don’t overload yourself and always make time for reflection. 2. Choose good role models In the previous section, we mentioned how important it is to have a leader to turn to for support. You must choose good role models and communicate with them about what you feel is holding you back when you’re having a rough time. Talking about the behaviors that you admire from your leaders will give you insight into how you can emulate them and become a lot more comfortable in your role. 3. Have one-on-one encounters with people It’s not a secret that introverted people do a lot better in one-on-one scenarios. If that’s the case for you, meet with people one-on-one so you can build your comfort level. Soon enough, you will be able to feel comfortable in group settings. Additionally, one-on-one meetings will help you empower people a lot more effectively and build trust. 4. Develop your skills daily As we mentioned before, being a good leader requires practice because leadership is a craft you are constantly working on. Developing your skills daily is a big part of that and the more secure you are in those skills, the more confident and competent you will feel as a whole. So, learn to delegate, practice having effective performance development conversations, etc., by working on these skills you are also working on your confidence. 5. Leverage your strengths This is a really good strategy because instead of focusing on your weaknesses, you will be able to build your confidence by leveraging your strengths. Identify what you’re good at and integrate it into your management style. For example, if you’re more comfortable in one-on-one meetings, use that approach to your advantage. 6. Embrace who you are Some of the most successful and effective leaders out there are introverted just like you. How did they manage that? Well, they embraced who they are and used that to develop a leadership style based on their unique abilities and strengths. Being your authentic self is more powerful than trying to overcome the parts of yourself you feel don’t have value. Embracing who you are will permit team members to do the same and it will also increase trust and engagement. 7. Boldly jump into projects Some of the best leaders in the world are measured by their actions, not their words. If you’re an introvert, you don’t have to prove yourself with words, you can prove yourself by boldly jumping into projects and bringing your team with you. It will show them how strong and confident you are, which makes it easier for you to delegate to your team because they will respect you and what you’re trying to accomplish. 8. Don’t work alone Learning to work with your team is very important. You may be shy, but you can’t do the best job you’re capable of, if you try to do it alone. Every team member under your wing brings something valuable and unique to the table, so you need to be able to tap into that. Work with your team and you’ll find shyness is easier to overcome when you’re all collectively focused on one goal. 9. Step out of your comfort zone Believe it or not, shy leaders, actors, comedians, speakers, managers, etc., are a lot more common than you think. However, their shyness is not always obvious because they are constantly working outside of their comfort zone and they own that. They understand that the overwhelming and anxious feelings that come up when you’re about to free-fall into something new, are temporary. Once you leap, you will find you have what it takes to do what needs to be done and succeed. 10. Remember people want you to lead them People want to be led and that’s something you always need to remember if you’re an introvert in a leadership position. Everyone under you trusts you, otherwise, you wouldn’t be where you are. You have to step up and accept that responsibility, accept that you are capable and ready to shine, and lead your team to amazing accomplishments. Own it! Successful leaders who were reluctant about leadership We really want you to understand that being reluctant to answer the call of leadership is normal. Even if you are shy or introverted, you are still capable of doing amazing things. If you are a bit on the fence about standing tall and embracing leadership, it may help you to know that many people have been where you are. They answered the call and they accomplished incredible things. Albert Einstein was one of those people. He is one of the most recognized physicists in the history of the world and he was an introvert who enjoyed the solitude of a quiet life. In fact, he claimed that it stimulates the creative mind. Bill Gates is another great example. He founded Microsoft, an extremely successful company, and he has become one of the richest people in the world. He has always been an introvert but he was able to see the benefits of that. As an introvert, he could just take time to himself and think about a difficult problem and come up with great ideas to get people motivated and make important decisions. If you enjoy movies, you know who Steven Spielberg is. He is a highly successful director and producer. He has become one of the most influential people in Hollywood. Did you know that he was an introvert? Even so, he has been able to get the best out of some of the world’s most well-known actors and actresses and has made the connections necessary to build an empire for himself. There are many reasons why reluctant leaders find so much success. One of the main ones is that they choose to answer the call of leadership for a purpose that’s bigger than themselves or their shyness. They have a compelling reason to do what they do and that’s stronger than their own self-interest. As a result, they don’t become entitled people with a bloated sense of self-importance. Quite the contrary; they stay humble and they can put themselves in other people’s shoes and understand where everyone is coming from no matter what their rank is. Additionally, reluctant leaders develop their own leadership style because they don’t care about power or impressing others. They care about accomplishing something meaningful and they want to feel authentic while they do that. They identify their strengths and use them to their advantage at every turn. These leaders are also committed to self-development because they are aware of the skills they are missing and they are willing to practice and master them. Not to mention, they support others to do the same because they enjoy watching people succeed. Leaping into leadership is a big decision, but it can also be incredibly rewarding when you’re doing it for all the right reasons. Stand tall and answer the call! You know what you have to offer and how much of a difference you can make. That is the point of leadership! Now go out there and make a difference! We love hearing from our readers! Leave us a comment below and tell us your thoughts!
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