- Humility maximizes team performance
- Humble leadership can be fostered through six behaviors
Though humility is increasingly being recognized as a key trait of effective leaders — a finding backed by scientific research — everyday examples of humble leadership in popular media and film are conspicuously absent.
As a result, many leaders are left wondering what aspects of humility to display and why humble leadership behaviors improve their respective group’s performance.
According to a recent study published in Academy of Management Journal, humble leaders:
- Actively seek feedback, even when it is critical
- Admit when they don’t know how to do something or when they may not be the most skilled or knowledgeable on a certain subject or task
- Take notice of their followers’ strengths and are quick to compliment them
- Show appreciation for the unique contributions of their followers
- Are open to ideas and advice from their followers
- Show a willingness to learn from their followers
In addition to demonstrating a positive link between leader humility and team performance, the study discovered that humility had a contagion effect — followers mimicked the humble behaviors of their leader. Humble teams ultimately performed better because they prioritized group goals and performance.
Thus, humble leaders are more effective because they are better able to foster a collective team mentality — a mentality where members put the team’s interests ahead of their own —that, in turn, leads to enhanced team performance.
To cultivate a team-first mentality and maximize your team’s performance, be sure to exhibit these six humble leadership behaviors.
As Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
 Owens, B. P., & Hekman, D. R. (2016). How does leader humility influence team performance? Exploring the mechanisms of contagion and collective promotion focus. Academy of Management Journal, 59, 1088–1111. https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2013.0660