March 9

BEST BOSS EVER! Newsletter March, ’24

( 687 words = 5.3-minute read)

February Newsletter Recap

# 1 – What is Bad Leadership? –  the real question is, do you tolerate bad leadership…

# 2 – How Does Bad Leadership Impact Culture? – cascades through the culture, can be devastating…

# 3 – What Can Be Done About Bad Leaders? – be a better leader yourself, open their eyes & help them start..

This month’s topic is why humility is essential for leaders. I first read about the importance of humility in Good to Great by Jim Collins over 20 years ago. Jim and his research team discovered two traits that the best leaders share, and the first one was humility. Even though I had thought this for years, I had never seen the word humility identified as a primary driver of leadership effectiveness!

I am blessed to work with humble leaders who know they can be better leaders and desire to be better leaders with all their hearts. Let’s examine the power of humility.


Point # 1 – What is humility, and why does it matter? provides an interesting definition of humility: “Humility is an attribute that means you’re free from egotism and arrogance. Instead, being humble means you tend to think of others more, including how your actions can affect those you work with… humility means you recognize that others may have a better way of doing things or an idea that’s stronger than the original and that you welcome these differences, celebrate them, and actively try to incorporate them into the workplace.”

Great leaders demonstrate empathy and connect well with others because they are trusted. Humility and empathy seemingly go hand-in-hand. Extraordinary leaders demonstrate a desire to listen to others and care about people. Indeed, people don’t want to know how much you know until they know how much you care. 

The benefits of humility at work are numerous—more innovation, increased productivity, higher employee satisfaction, employee loyalty, better ideas, and stronger professional relationships that enable more collaboration. Lastly, humble leaders make the best leaders because they can serve others’ needs.

Ask Yourself: How do I demonstrate humility to others?


Point # 2 – What are the signs of “arrogance”? (adapted from Joe Folkman’s research)

Zenger Folkman analyzed 708 leaders and discovered humble leaders were rated at the 66th percentile in overall leadership effectiveness, and arrogant leaders were rated at the 34th percentile. Here’s why:

  1. The arrogant leader had poor relationships – many don’t value other’s opinions & contributions
  2. They also had low trust – perhaps they were not viewed as trustworthy because they manipulated data and prioritized their interests over others
  3. They were not team players – didn’t take input well; focused solely on their ideas
  4. They resisted feedback – e.g., dismissing market research because it contradicted their vision
  5. They communicated poorly – creating strategic misalignments and confusion
  6. They created a hostile work environment – lack appreciation for diversity and only favor & promote those who share their background or perspectives
  7. They don’t develop others – failing to mentor or develop others, focusing solely on short-term goals

“Humility isn’t just a nice trait; it’s a key driver of a leader’s success.” Joe Folkman

Point # 3 – How do you cultivate humility?

Please note that humility is not the same thing as being nice. You can be assertive and humble at the same time. Don’t get humility confused with being passive or indecisive. To be authentically humble, you need to put others ahead of yourself and lessen the amount of ego & pride that affects your motivations. An excellent place to start is to seek feedback. The best way to get a healthy dose of feedback is through a well-designed 360-degree leadership assessment. If you want the best one in the market, contact me to learn how to get one.

Daryl R. Van Tongeren, Ph.D. suggests to increase humility, you should:

  1. Seek feedback – how humble are you perceived to be? Are there any blind spots?
  2. Set aside your defensiveness – building humility requires an openness to learn.
  3. Focus on empathy – Empathy is the key to humility: concern for the well-being of others.

Ask Yourself: How can I cultivate more humility?


If you want to help an arrogant leader who may want to become a better leader, give me their name so I can reach out to them and support them. I can help them get feedback and create an improvement plan. I will keep your referral anonymous and do everything possible to help them.

Want to Go Deeper?

  1. Why Being Humble Is Critical to Growing Your Business by Shama Hyder in Forbes
  2. Why Humility is Important: The 7 Signs of Arrogance by Joe Folkman
  3. How to Become More Humble by Daryl R. Van Tongeren, Ph.D.

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