Impact of Humility on Leadership

Impact of Humility on Leadership

By Josette Bautista 

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, 
but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 
Let each of you look not only to his own interests 
but also to the interests of others."  
~ Philippians 2:3-4

 

Humility must be the significant feature of any human being because it teaches us what exactly it takes to be a human. Humility make people aware of other people’s pain and miseries. Therefore, humbleness and leadership have a very close relationship with each other in this regard. Being humble must be the core trait of any leader. If a person is unable to show sympathy and humbleness to others, he can never become a good leader. A leader is a true representative of its people so he must possess special characteristics which differentiate him from the rest of the community or society. The importance of humility for a leader and impact of humility on the leadership in the light of teachings of Christianity and the Bible. Matthew 23:12 says, Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” 

The first step in St. Benedict’s ladder of humility is that "a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes" (Psalm 36:2) and to never forget what God has commanded of us. For the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate (Proverbs 8:13).

Humility is a term used to refer to the quality of human beings harder to practice because it demands sacrifices, courage and being able to practice vulnerabilities. So “humility” refers to some fundamental quality of any individual.  Humility is a very important character trait of human beings as it makes them admit their mistakes, listen to others, and ask for help in matters they are not good at. When we are humble and open to accept other’s suggestions and criticism which help to learn new things and move forward. According to Snow (1995), humility can be defined as “a complex virtue with more than one variety of meaning”.  A humble person is able to develop a sense of self-realization in him, and he then tries to transform his personality minimizing the flaws and negative traits accordingly. It makes a person down to earth and helps to develop a sense of compassion which is considered a very important characteristic of good leadership.

Humility is supported by almost all religions most especially in Christianity. In fact, Jesus Christ himself was the great preacher of humility.  His behaviors and teachings are the examples of righteous humility: “Who, when he was reviled, did not revile: when he suffered, he threatened not: but delivered himself to him that judged him justly” (1 Peter 2:23). The Holy Bible preaches that humility must be part of our daily life. 1 Peter 5:5 says, “Be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.” 

Humility is the mother of all virtues; purity, charity and obedience.
It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent.
If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace,
because you know what you are.
If you are blamed you will not be discouraged.
If they call you a saint you will not put yourself on a pedestal.
~St. Teresa of Calcutta

 

Humility and leadership in the view of Biblical teachings

Humility and leadership are closely interlinked as humility is the quality of being human and without humility, a person can never possess good leadership qualities. Humility magnifies all other positive characteristics of a good leader. If a leader is not humble, he would never be able to understand the problems of his company completely. Therefore, from the past few years, organizational leadership has acknowledged the significance of humility. Owens & Hekman (2012) distinguished, “Calls for leader humility have intensified in the wake of corporate scandals attributed to the unbridled ego, hubris, sends of entitlement, and self-importance of the corporate executive involved” (p. 787).  Jesus and the early church were great examples of the importance of humility in achieving good leadership qualities. According to (Delio, 2005), the early church father considered humility as “queen virtue” or “virtue above all virtues.”

Therefore, leaders must try to practice the teachings of Jesus and the Bible within the church as well in their daily matters in order to attain good leadership qualities. The Bible teaches that “God dislikes pride” (Proverbs 6:12; 21:4) and thus the person who keeps a little bit of pride in his heart can never get a place in the eyes of the God. Pride is a disease which can never be cured. A theologian writes, “Till this disease [of pride] is cured, medicines are in vain applied to heal other diseases” (Undiscerned Spiritual Pride, The works of Jonathan Edwards). 

Impact of Humility on Leadership

No doubt, humility is such a quality which can help to win the hearts of people. Though it is sometimes mixed with being weak and their humbleness is mistakenly thought as their weakness. This is a completely wrong concept. In fact, humility makes people courageous, strong and confident about themselves. There had been many leaders in the past who were humble yet they ruled over the hearts of people. The Bible has multiple examples to show the true leadership qualities and which can be followed even in today’s time in order to be a good leader. Moses was a greater leader of the past who guided his nation “the Israelites” towards the path of meekness. The Bible describes his journey and it reveals that many of the people of his nation were against him but he led them to the right path. He led his nation out of slavery and “took them to the land as promised by God” (Num. 12:3). Moses was very humble and this humbleness made his important in the eyes of God. God helped him and guided him at every step. It is said that when Pharaoh Army attacked his nation, his confidence on the powers of God helped them to overpower them without using any force. Moses leadership was very commendable as he provided his nation's food and water with the help of God. He also gave them Ten Commandments in order to give a better and lawful living to his nation. To admire the efforts of Moses, Mary Baker Eddy concluded in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” that   "Moses advanced a nation to the worship of God in Spirit instead of matter, and illustrated the grand human capacities of being bestowed by immortal Mind" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 200). Therefore, because of the bravery, power, intellect, religious and spiritual characteristics and most importantly humility of Moses, his nation became strong. His humility guided him and his nation to the right path making this world a better place to live. 

Jesus, our Lord and Savior is the model of true humility, he preached"I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me" (John 5:30).  

Indeed, humility is such a weapon which can help to win the hearts of people. Without humility, any leader can rule the world but can never touch the hearts of people. Therefore, it must be a significant feature of any leadership. In this way, this world can be taken to the right path as well as people can taste the true meaning of good leadership. Humble leaders always put others first before themselves . They take care of the company and employees as part of their job responsibility. Setting aside egos can be hard to swallow, and it takes practice, but it gives opportunities for employees, companies, and ourselves to grow as a good humble leader in Christ.

 

The Litany of Humility
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I go unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
 
St. Benedict, Pray For Us!

 

 

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