In his business classic Good to Great, Jim Collins describes his astonishment at observing the humility shared by the chief executives profiled in his book. Expecting flashy, celebrity-style leaders, Collins’ instead found what he called “Level 5 Leaders” — low-key individuals who credited others for wins while taking blame for failures; who welcomed feedback while shunning the spotlight; who listened closely to others and respected their contributions; who favored workmanlike focus on the business over publicity and media events.
Such humble leaders have a special ability to bring out the best in people. They enable those around them to rise to the occasion. They create space for fresh ideas and creativity to infuse and energize their organizations. They adapt with nimbleness to changing conditions and respond effectively to new opportunities.
In the audio program below, I share more in-depth reflections on exactly why humility in leadership is so helpful in creating healthier, high-performing organizational cultures. I also share some anecdotes that revealed to me how the opposite of humility — a rigid or closed orientation marked by unwarranted certainty or self-righteousness — can have disastrous consequences for organizations.
Click here to download and listen to this 40-minute audio program.