Sadly we probably all know a boss who uses shouting, micromanaging and threats as their management style. However, according to a new study by W.P Carey School of Business at Arizona State University has found that this is definitely not the most effective leadership manner.
This recent study involved interviewing CEOs of 63 private companies and asking around 1,000 managers who reported to them to rank them on a humility scale of 1 to 6. The results clearly demonstrated that the more humble bosses were received with much more positive reactions. This may come as a surprise to many, as traditionally, self-assured, egocentric people have been judged as the ‘best managers’ and instead humble managers are viewed as weak. However, as Kinicki of the W.P Carey School of Business commented “Humble people are quieter, more in the background, but they lead in a different way, by empowering their employees, which trickles down.” This can be seen in terms of the study’s results of a greater sense of autonomy, confidence, willingness to learn and engagement in those who had more humble CEOs.
So what does ‘being a humble boss’ entail? This quality involves being self-aware, making active attempts to empower, show appreciation and encouraging open feedback, and a shift of focus from themselves, to team members. Gratitude and appreciation goes a long way and this does not just need to be limited to tangible elements, but also recognising qualities in employees such as their passion and enthusiasm. On the flip side, the traits to stay away from are: concern over self-gain as opposed to helping the team, a controlling nature and stand-alone decision-making. We should all be continually striving to learn and acknowledging your weaknesses, promoting team discussion and group decision-making will support this.
Humility needs to stop being tarnished with the brush of being a sign of weakness or lack of confidence, but instead viewed as a much desired, appealing quality which has a range of benefits for many. Leaders should focus on ‘taking it back to the basics’ in terms of interactions and focusing on employees, rather than exclaiming about their own achievements. Your employees are a vital cog in ensuring the success of a team and organisation as a whole. Concentrating on the personable qualities which make up a humble manager as mentioned above will set yourself and your team on the road to success. Do you consider yourself a humble manager? Or do you find positive effects from your own manager showing signs of humility?