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Filtering by Tag: humility

Can You Gain Power and Strength via Being Meek? Clarity #20

Alan Andersen

Does anyone else watch old timeless movies this time of year? EVERY year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I watch “ELF” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” One makes me laugh and the other causes great reflection and gratefulness. This week’s Clarity reading pulls from lessons learned from “The Man From Snowy River”, another favorite. A young client of mine had never seen the movie. WHAT? You must see this sappy little movie immediately. In it the main character, Jim Craig, not only tames a powerful, dangerous and beautiful wild colt, he captures the whole mob of brumbies, (the term for feral horses in Australia – BTW) How? Only with the help of his faithful saddle horse, the real hero of the story. 

Powerful Leadership

Because its strength and power had been bridled, trained, and controlled, Craig’s horse could carry him where other cowboys had not dared to go. It had the potential to go wild, to return to the herd, but it was obedient and loyal to Craig, part of a two-creature team on an outrageous mission. Was the meek saddle horse any less of a brave leader than the scene-stealing, bucking black brumbie?

Strength Under Control

Meekness is not spinelessness or sentimentality. The term meek comes from the Greek word praus, which is used for a strong beast that has been tamed. In other words, strength under control. Translated, you, in control. Many times, we as leaders think we have to do the rearing-head colt-thing to get things done, yet isn’t it the humble power of a mentor we remember?

Test It For Yourself

Test it, list the qualities of someone who has influenced your life in a meaningful way. If you are like most, your list will include moral integrity, humble confidence, gentle strength, and genuine interest in the good of others, a team player who invested in you. It is not the guy who strutted in and had it all together looking down on the rest as the smartest guy in the room. We gravitate to people who have been tested in their character and in their times of weakness became strong, confident and humble. What we experience in them is the character trait of meekness.

That person is so strong, so confident they could take anyone out with their wisdom, intelligence and experience – instead they quietly and meekly serve others.

Who is a humble and meek person in your life? Someone who has influenced you with that quiet strength?

Be sure and secure copies of Clarity for the leaders in your life for Christmas. They can follow along into the new year. The gift of Clarity: Focusing on What Matters in 2012.

Your Coach For Clarity,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Is Humble Confidence an Oxymoron?

Alan Andersen

I cringed the other day, when yet another friend told yet another story of an egotistical boss. I was relieved for her because she had been recruited away, leaving him alone with his arrogant attitude and inflated speeches. I actually feel sorry for the guy. He is blinded to how his behavior is ruining the culture of his business. In his mind, it’s always someone else’s fault and fires at will. Makes me sad.

In contrast, isn’t it refreshing when you see an organization and its leadership truly investing in their people? Whose leader truly wants to lead and care for his or her employees? If you find that person, you will find the makings of a unique company culture … one with little to no turnover, profit on the bottom line, and real joy in the workplace!

Focused and Flexible

Recently, I worked with a start-up company to discover their core purpose and values. One of the values that made it to the top was the descriptive combo of words, “Humble Leadership.” Together those words sizzle with meaning. They also seem like an oxymoron.

Confidence is a strong word. Yet it is rooted in words like belief, trust, faith, reliance. It means that you have a strong belief that you (and others) will behave, act, respond in a way that is right, effective, and certain. That doesn’t sound humble, right?

Yet, the most refreshing leaders to be around are ones that embody humble confidence. I bet you can think of one now. Someone you respected and wanted to follow. They listened to you and sought your input as part of the team, yet had a strong sense of where they were going. You felt your opinion not only matter, it helped in a meaningful way to fulfill the organization’s mission. I often describe this trait in action as “Focused and Flexible.”

Pain and Inadequacy

What’s the opposite of humble confidence? I believe it is shame-based leadership. In my experience, most leaders wrestle with the normal nagging thoughts, “Do I have what it takes?” or “Will I be found out one day?” I write about that in my book, Clarity.

An epiphany came when I was studying for a talk on shame and looked it up on my iPhone, of all places. Apple succinctly defines shame as “A painful emotion resulting from an awareness of inadequacy or guilt.” Here’s the thing: When the questions above are not answered with humble confidence, then the leader (usually an entrepreneur) sets out to silence that voice by “proving” him or herself, leading to behavior that brings shame.

If you want to know if you suffer from shame, then sit down and make a list of the areas you have pain in because of a sense of inadequacy, or any area where you feel guilt. I know it can be a painful process. But it’s the first step to facing the truth to move toward the relief of humble confidence.

One other note: Do not isolate yourself in this process! Bring it to your community, whether that’s your coach, EO/YPO forum, trusted peers, or so on.

Personal Humility, Professional Will

Of course, all of this certainly isn’t a new concept. In fact, I remember when Jim Collins’s classic book Good to Great came out, I devoured it. I focused especially on the secret sauce of a Level 5 leader. These people “blend extreme personal humility with intense professional will.”

Let’s review Collins’s five attributes that epitomize the Level 5 Leader:

1. They are self-confident enough to set up their successors for success.

2. They are humble and modest.

3. They have “unwavering resolve.”

4. They display a “workmanlike diligence — more plow horse than show horse.”

5. They give credit to others for their success and take full responsibility for poor results.

I have to be real right now. I know very few people who truly desire to lead as Level 5 leaders. Many CEOs don’t have the needed patience, self-discipline and heart to lead with humility and confidence. Having said that, I am fully confident that with training and desire, it is more than possible for future Level 5 leaders to get to the top level if they invest in others around them. As an executive coach, I get to see change every day in people who truly want to make a difference in this world.

How about you? Are you leader who has resolve, displays diligence, gives credit and takes responsibility. Or are you one whose eye is on personal gain? The key is having an accurate view of yourself. Coaching can help with this, but whether or not you get assistance, realize you need a team to get you to the next level.

Then you are a part of an elite group who truly want to lead.

Be humble, be confident, be the best you can be today!

Your Coach,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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