Ash Barty’s character is a great example of leading with humility. For most, she was already a winner before her great win at Wimbledon.
Humble leadership may feel like an unusual concept in this age where arrogance and self-importance seem to dominate the scene, in business and in politics. Indeed, how many high achievers openly credit their team for their success and stay focussed on their team?
Well, for a change we have a refreshing Australian role model, getting international recognition for her behaviour as well as for her performance. To illustrate a humble approach, take Ash Barty’s final training session: As you probably know, it consisted of kick-to-kick footy and much laughter with some of her mates on the hallowed turf of Wimbledon.
This tells a lot about this lass from the bush. Humble, no big song and dance, just one super focussed, passionate athlete thankful she has got as far as she has. And always recognising the contribution of her team to her success.
“Her warmup will include kicking a Sherrin on her practice court (don’t tell the groundskeeper). Hers is a powerful story and brave story. She’s the strong and silent type giving a clenched fist to her old self-doubts.”
Will Stanton – The Australian – July 10.
Humble Leadership In Business
Gratitude and being thankful goes a long way in promoting a winning success. And I see the same in business.
For over 15 years I have been working with one CEO who has always had a powerful philosophy: As he likes to say, if you surround yourself with the right people, particularly those better than you, you can’t help but succeed. It isn’t pure coincidence that his businesses have always grown and received industry awards for their achievements.
I’m Just The Cheer Squad (CEO)
His comment is enlightening and his approach should make us think about how we get things done.
“It was the team that got us across the line. I may be the conductor, but I like to lead from amongst the troops rather than out in front. They have the talent, I’m just their cheer squad”
However, according to Jeff Hyman in Forbes magazine: “Humility is not typically the first trait that comes to mind when you think about great business leaders like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, or Bill Gates”.
Humility Doesn’t Resonate
Visionary, courageous, charismatic – Here are the qualities most of us associate with great leaders. The idea of a humble, self-effacing leader often doesn’t resonate.
Yet, in fact a number of research studies have concluded that humble leaders listen more effectively, inspire great teamwork and focus everyone (including themselves) on organisational goals better than leaders who don’t score high on humility!
Valued Leadership – Big Demand, Short Supply
As we battle through a challenging year, we could say that leadership is a bit like the Pfizer Vaccine! Yes, it is in big demand but short supply!
Essentially effective leadership is all about harnessing the best out of your stakeholders. Arrogance and self-importance can only lead to counterproductive behaviours that diminish the performance of the team. Toxic and destructive leadership is the opposite of what our organisations need in 2021 and beyond.
Humble Leadership Validated In “Going From Good to Great” (Jim Collins)
If you wish to learn more about the power of humble leadership, read Jim Collins’ research in his book “Good to Great”. Through his research he demonstrates that the most robust, sustainable businesses with superior market performance had one thing in common: “Level 5 leaders” were leading them; these leaders demonstrate BOTH humility and an indomitable will to advance the cause of the organisation.
Building A Brighter Future
Ash Barty’s humility and indomitable will on the tennis court will inspire young people! After all, isn’t that the pure definition of Leadership – “The ability to influence others”.
Building leaders is our passion too – call me if one of your aspirations is to build your own leadership capability, or your leaders’ skills, is .
(Image copyright: Sydney Morning Herald)