By Yvonne Milosevic
We often think of confidence and humility as opposing qualities. But did you know that, in the realm of leadership, combining the two can lead to better outcomes? Confidence is essential for a leader to inspire trust and decisiveness. But without humility, it can quickly morph into arrogance or overconfidence. On the other hand, humility allows a leader to listen to others and be open to new ideas. Yet without confidence, it can spiral into indecisiveness and lack of conviction.
That’s where the concept of “confident humility” comes in. It’s the ability to be self-assured without slipping into egotistical territory. It also means being receptive to others’ perspectives without abandoning your beliefs. It’s a fine balance that allows a person to lead like a rock star while also being open to learning and growth.
Here are four reasons why confident humility is indispensable for better leadership:
It leads to better decision-making: Confidence allows leaders to make decisive choices. Adding in a dash of humility enables them to consider many perspectives and gather input from team members. This leads to more well-rounded and informed decisions.
It fosters collaboration: Humility allows leaders to listen to others and value their contributions, which promotes teamwork and cooperation. This can lead to a more harmonious and productive team dynamic.
It inspires trust: Confident humility inspires team members’ trust because it shows that the leader welcomes outside input. This can create a sense of respect and loyalty within the team.
It allows for growth: Humility allows a leader to embrace a learning mindset. This, in turn, leads to personal and professional development. Confidence allows a leader to embrace and act on these growth opportunities.
How to Up Your Own Confident Humility
Wharton management professor Adam Grant is a big fan of confident humility—it’s a major takeaway from his latest book, Think Again. To put it into practice, Grant says companies should reconsider their focus on a results-based performance culture.
Instead, organizations should promote a learning culture. This atmosphere rewards people who test out new ideas regardless of whether they work. “Evidence shows those in learning cultures innovate more and make fewer mistakes,” Grant says.
Meanwhile, an effective way to curtail overconfidence is acknowledging even a single reason we might be mistaken about something. Grant’s favorite questions to check himself (and others) are: “How do you know?” and “What if we’re wrong?”
Confident humility is a vital trait for leaders to cultivate. It leads to better decision-making, collaboration, trust, and personal development. By balancing confidence and humility, leaders can create a positive and productive team dynamic that creates success for all.