Ego & Humility: The Third Power Skill for Leaders in a New Era

To successfully lead companies and inspire people, leaders need to develop new capabilities. A new type of leader is needed to inspire and lead their people – one who engages their heart and soul as well as their capabilities, blending their analytical and whole human skills

There are seven Power Skills that help leaders do just this:

  • Self-Awareness & Capacity for Growth
  • Empathy & Compassion
  • Ego-Awareness & Humility
  • Transparency & Truth
  • Resilience & Emotional Intelligence
  • Purpose
  • Servant Leadership

Let’s take a closer look at the third: Ego-Awareness & Humility. 

Humility is not the first or even the third trait that comes to mind when thinking of successful business leaders. If you were asked to name qualities of successful leaders, you would likely start with charisma, vision, courage… However, a number of research studies, including a recent HBR study, have concluded that humble leaders create more inclusive workplaces because they are more effective listeners, solicit feedback, inspire teamwork, and are better able to focus their teams on organizational goals.

In his book, The One Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard wrote: “People with humility do not think less of themselves; they just think about themselves less.”

Some questions to get you started on Ego-Awareness and Humility:

  1. How can I do things that are always creating win-wins?
  2. What did I not do to contribute to making this happen?
  3. How can I lead with vulnerability and openness?
  4. Who can I lift up through mentorship, acknowledgment, or responsibility? 


Micro-practices for Ego & Humility:

  1. Focus on asking questions (instead of knowing all answers) – Humble leaders understand that they are not the smartest person in the room nor do they need to be. Focus on encouraging your team members to speak up and then actively listen. Respect differences of opinion regardless of whether they come from an executive or a team member. Acknowledging others’ opinions and ideas is a sign that you are not threatened by your team’s valuable contribution. This will help create an open and inspiring environment where creativity is welcomed and encouraged, leading to a more productive and positive atmosphere. 


  • Acknowledge missteps, take responsibility When things go wrong, do you acknowledge your mist-steps (step 1), take responsibility (step 2), and move into corrective action (step 3)? The admission doesn’t need to take place in front of everyone, but at least to yourself. Without acknowledging our weak points, we can’t improve upon them and grow.

  • Shine a spotlight on others When things go right, focus on lifting up your team members, giving credit where it is due, and letting them shine.