Humble Leadership: 5 Dimensions for a New Style of People Management

January 18, 2021 5 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In a world that promotes outward success, humility is one of the most difficult human virtues to achieve and develop, the most in the world of organizations of any kind.

It all starts from recognizing one’s own limitations and weaknesses, and acting on the basis of that knowledge in a serene, calm, assertive and focused way to visualize one’s own and others’ essential needs, and know how to handle them.

“Humility” comes from the Latin word humilitas , which means fertile; that is, knowing how to create sufficient conditions of humanity so that the sowing that is done through being and doing in the world, allows an abundant and nutritious harvest for all the people involved.

5 dimensions of humble leadership

The successive crises of the world, volatility and uncertainty, lead to consider another type of leadership , centered on the human and that gives rise to a genuine and transcendent expression of the role that is exercised.

Image: jose aljovin via Unsplash

This is how humble leadership is emerging, a way of leading people where the axis is placed in five dimensions:

  • Service to others: the person knows that he leads with the purpose of serving others: the company, his team, the community, and the world in a broader sense.
  • The meaning: it is about creating more awareness of the “why” of each person, and that each one finds a deep emotional connection with what they do, so that they feel useful and, from there, achieve greater enthusiasm and dedication.
  • Influence: as a consequence of humble leadership, a direct quality impact is generated, adding value in its environment and is replicated in each action and in each intention.
  • Transcendence: as each of the actions and decisions will have an impact on the future, in humble leadership, sustainability in the way of doing business, permanently adding value, awareness of the impact on the planet, and the search for consensus are fundamental. and confluence of aspects that elevate people.
  • The legacy: it is the sowing that will be left from the leadership in its passage through that function. It is the lasting imprint of every action and decision that is taken. This makes people unforgettable not only from what they do, but from how they have achieved it. On the one hand, there is the person, with his virtues and opportunities for improvement, and on the other, what each role he assumes as a leader requires. Values can be the bridge that connects both universes, personal and professional, to be based on a genuine, honest, sincere and profound manifestation of your leadership.

How to develop humble leadership

To develop the trait of humility when exercising the role of leader requires conscience, heart, will and reasoning; critical ability with oneself, and large doses of tolerance, active and affective listening, and neutral observation.

Image: Riccardo Annandale via Unsplash

Here are some of the steps to developing humble leadership:

1. Work on self-knowledge

As we know, it is not possible to pretend to lead other people without knowing how to do it in one. In approach to formal and non-formal education and personal development searches need to include this key aspect for today’s world. In addition to improving soft skills, it is necessary to delve into the discovery of the hidden parts of the being, its emotional intelligence, its flexibility and adaptability, and its beliefs and paradigms. Some points to work on are awareness of being, silence, healing and repairing what may be hurt in personal and professional history, and seeking the sense of transcendence of what is done as work.

2. Learn to connect, in addition to communicating

There are still leaders who are afraid to expose their vulnerability to others, wanting to act super powerful. This manifestation that comes from the ego results in an ineffective conduction in the deep, since today’s roles require a plasticity to enter and exit situations where human bonds are essential. The humble leader knows this, and, in addition to being excellent and impeccable in his communication, he connects and emotionally impacts each person with whom he interacts. The bonds are deeper and more essential, through a respectful, genuine and honest dynamic.

3. Admitting mistakes and wanting to stop being right

To focus on an enriching process and a better result, it is possible to work on moderating the ego, keeping it calm. The humble leader knows how to accept when he is wrong, make amends for mistakes and focuses on the greater purpose of each action and decision. In their higher forms, these people stop wanting to be right, and set out to generate resonances of understanding to be able to act assertively, and help others to display the best of each one.

4. Humanize professional ties

In the previous era, relationships were between people who considered themselves almost machines, forcing each other, envying each other, competing whatever. In humble leadership, the focus is on people. This allows knowing each other in other dimensions: knowing what they feel, what is going through their mind and heart, understanding individual processes, their emotions, makes the links much richer and more durable beyond the professional function they must perform.

5. Learn the lessons and continue

As in any process, in the development of humble leadership there will be certain emotional roller coasters in people, since it is non-linear. There will be stages of rise, fall, and stagnation, and this is natural.

The suggestion is that they can internalize the learning that is hidden behind mistakes, failures, conflicts, and can turn them into great teachers to exercise their temperance, stoicism and humility.

Regarding mistakes, a key point is to keep an eye on progress, and not linger so long on unnecessary flashbacks that could stagnate the humble leader and his teams. For this, the focus would be 85% on breakthrough solutions, and 15% on analyzing what happened. The proactive force of moving forward will better capitalize on learnings.

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