The new book Humble Leadership – The Power of Relationships, Openness, and Trust by Edgar H. Schein and Peter A. Schein offers a new approach to leadership. Leaders need to be humble. Relationships should change in design and evolve over time. It’s a challenging balance for leaders and their teams. The balance between being too formal or too intimate is a struggle in this day and age. Being humble is key to cultivating a strong culture of cooperation and trust. Years ago empathy wasn’t considered a leadership trait and it is a strength that can pull teams together.
Leaders today need to be adaptive and very in tune with their actions, behaviors, and treatment of teams so that organizational culture thrives and in turn impacts employees. I have worked in organizations with great cultures and those that are toxic. When an organization is toxic turnover increases, sales and service take a dive, and organizations fade.
The authors offer four levels of leadership relationships. Level two represents the most effective balance for most organizations.
• Level Minus 1: Total impersonal, domination, and coercion
• Level 1: Transactional role and rule-based supervision, service, and most forms of “professional” helping relationships
• Level 2: Personal cooperative, trusting relationships as in friendships and in effective teams
• Level 3: Emotionally intimate total mutual commitments
The authors assert that learning and rewarding humility is a learning process. Without focus and commitment, leaders can’t change. They need to practice focused reading and reflection, create homework around designing work relationships and build their behavioral skills through fieldwork and learning.
Humble Leadership doesn’t just present theories and ideas. The real meat in the book are the lessons at the end of each chapter which invite the reader to reflect. There are several chapters detailing real situations in companies and even the military where humbleness has been transforming. These stories r bring the ideas and concepts in the book together. For instance, we learn lessons from a major medical center, an international company, and even the US military.
If you are ready and willing to become humble and change your organization pick up a copy of Humble Leadership today. You don’t need to be a CEO – you can have an impact in your role and within the teams that you work with. If we all make small changes we can have an impact.
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