Of Leader Pride and Humility

Paul Berggren
2 min readFeb 4, 2021

Thinking you have all the answers keeps you pridefully ignorant. Humility welcomes the voices of others to unlock learning and fresh thinking.

Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

When was the last time you took on a problem, issue, or initiative having personally gathered all the research, data, and planning to ensure success? Everything was perfectly planned from start to glorious finish with nothing left out. The only thing left was to get everyone “on board” with your magnificent plan. Just trust you to lead the way.

Sound familiar? Have you done this to others, or had it done to you? Such a clever plan may get results for a while, but what happens when the genius with a thousand helpers isn’t there anymore to tell everyone what to do?

The one with all the answers has their math all wrong. One prideful leader plus 9 talented team members only equals one person’s talent.

A humble leader knows multiplying everyone’s talent is far more effective than playing it safe with one person’s thinking. This humble leader draws strength from asking questions, seeking feedback and input, then hammering out a plan together. This person is highly aware that being clever can be addicting and shuts down learning for everyone.

When others stray or miss the mark, a humble leader makes others stronger by recognizing teachable moments that help them think and ask like a leader. Because that is the purpose of a humble leader — to build up more leaders who can move up and step when the need arises.

So if you’re happy where you are and what the results are getting, feel free to continue being the person with all the answers. If you want to shoot for the stars and maybe hit the moon instead, give a nod to the talent around you and let them shine.

None of you have all the answers alone, but together you’ll have what you need to make some magic happen.

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Paul Berggren

I help people listen and learn from each other. As President of Crown Global HR, I bring clarity to growing and hiring people.