Leadership Traits: What it Takes to Be a Humble Leader

leadership traits
credit: Medium

Leadership Traits: What it Takes to Be a Humble Leader

“Humility is the true key to success. Successful people lose their way at times. They often embrace and overindulge from the fruits of success. Humility halts this arrogance and self-indulging trap. Humble people share credit and wealth, remaining focused and hungry to continue the journey of success.”– Rick Pitino

If you have been reading our blog posts on leadership, you will notice that I’ve written more about leadership traits young leaders should possess, many of which includes strength, courage, enthusiasm, self-confidence, vision, etc. Today, I want to draw your attention to one important leadership traits that have most times been overlooked — that’s “humility”.

Leaders are servants and if you can’t swallow your pride you can’t lead. Humility is a major leadership trait every leader and aspiring leaders must learn to exhibit. One great truth about leadership is that every leader is confronted with this reality that his or her leadership is substantially flawed. Therefore, every leaders must learn to grow in other not to remain ignorant or unproductive.

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Humble leaders are fair-minded and practical, and they have the servant leadership spirit embedded in them. I strongly believe that humble leaders possess influence which enables them create positive impact in their organization and among their team. Aspiring leaders have a responsibility by availing themselves to learn the methods of being humble if they want to be productive and influential. Successful leaders however, never stop learning the values of humble leadership traits and experiences of others.


You can’t know it all. You won’t know it all. Be open to new ideas, new innovations, new suggestion, and new opportunities from anywhere and from anyone. Humble leaders seek out to learn from others. They gather inputs from others to ensure they have all the facts which helps them in making better decisions that are in the best interest of the team. Would you want to work for someone who doesn’t value nor accepts your opinion? I believe you will answer NO to that. Hence, my point. People want to work for people who value their opinions.

Take responsibility for your mistakes

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”― Criss Jami. A humble leader is always willing to accept responsibility for his actions. As human, we all make mistakes. But it takes great humility for most people to admit their faults. When you’re willing to open and share your own missteps, and probably seek opinions, you are valued and respected by your team.

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“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”― Lao Tzu


Like many leadership skills, humility may not come easy to everyone, so stay engaged in self-reflection. There’s almost always room for improvement. “Stay hungry, stay young, stay foolish, stay curious, and above all, stay humble because just when you think you got all the answers, is the moment when some bitter twist of fate in the universe will remind you that you very much don’t.”― Tom Hiddleston

According to Rob Nielsen, coauthor of Leading with Humility, “One of the most powerful tools is to write in a journal. By chronicling what went well during your interactions or what you could have handled better, you can enhance your perspective and learn from your actions”.

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Never Micromanage

Never micromanage your team. It brings down morale. Micromanagement is never associated with leadership traits. Though, it takes humility to admit that your way isn’t the only way or even that some people are better at certain roles than you. “When people are demonstrating these behaviors–self-awareness, perspective, openness to feedback and ideas, and appreciation of others–employees are saying: ‘Yes I’m happier in my job; I actually can perform at a higher level,’” Nielsen says. “There is an association between the humble leadership behaviors and those outcomes.”

I am the Founder and President of Young Leaders Arena. Formerly I was the Chief Editor and program co-ordinator at Walktall. Author of the upcoming Book; Success Recipe: Start up Tool-kit for exceptional business growth. I have written numerous articles on both leadership, business start up, entrepreneurship. I have served as thought leader in many societies and organisations, including the Forum on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. I obtained my post graduate from the prestigious University of Port Harcourt. I also have a Bachelors from the Delta State University, Abraka. Twitter & Instagram: @Charlessholokwu

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