Watching the World Series last week took me back to my days managing professional baseball franchises.
Over 20-years in the game I studied what it took to get minor league athletes to the major leagues and what it took to transform Major Leaguers into World Series Champions.
And now I apply those learnings to my small business clients to help them create their own “champion, high-performance business culture.”
I believe the secret ingredient that makes the difference in each of those contexts is the personality trait of humility!
Although it takes a tremendous amount of confidence to become a professional athlete, it also takes a tremendous amount of humility.
Reason being is that athletes are always facing tougher levels of competition as they move up the ranks. In order to adjust to that advanced competition, athletes must be open to feedback and open to learning how to adjust their techniques to succeed at the higher level.
In a related context, teams fortunate enough to put themselves into the position of playing in the post-season championship playoff tournament will face continually tougher opponents as they move through the tournament on the way to the championship game.
On the path to the championship, teams are constantly studying video of the competition to identify tendencies to exploit. They will also watch video of their own past performance to find nuances in their approach that they can adjust and leverage.
There is a fine balance between confidence and humility.
There is a fine balance between believing in yourself and knowing you are good at what you do, yet also believing you still have room for growth and development.
I believe mastering that balance is what makes champions in athletics, and high-performers in the workplace.
Humility is an underrated trait in the workplace, especially in management and leadership.
Many organizational leaders mistakenly believe they need to have all the answers to be trusted and respected. Many try to cover their inadequacies with a false sense of confidence that crumbles when confronted with an issue they are uncomfortable addressing.
Other organizational leaders try to cover their inadequacies by refusing to hire anyone with higher skills or knowledge than they.
Instead, a better approach would be to lead with humility by showing some vulnerability and authenticity showing they’re human and no different than those they are trying to lead.
The interesting paradox with this approach is that many leaders feel leading with humility and showing some vulnerability is a sign of weakness.
In reality it takes a tremendous amount of self-confidence and positive self-esteem in order to lead with humility.
Do you have what it takes?