After grueling interviews and comparison conversations, she was the obvious choice. They asked her to join the company because her talents were unlike anyone else and what she could add to the organization could uplift them all. Her confidence was high as her knowledge in her area of expertise was decades deep. Due to that confidence and knowledge she was immediately assigned to a large project and though she was competent, it challenged her to think differently in every way. Pushing through the tough days was difficult but she was able to come up with a few different ideas that were incredibly impactful and changed the entire direction of the project. The entire team embraced her style of leadership and focused on the project, heads down and completed it by the deadline.
It was now time to present the completed project to the senior leadership team. She was asked to play the supporting role by her superior. Obliging, she stayed within arms length in order to answer questions that would potentially come up. As the presentation wrapped up the presenter, her superior, shared how grateful he was for the opportunity to share such an impactful idea that would change the direction of the organization. He closed and sat down after failing to credit his team for the work they put into the project which sent a sense of discomfort across the room.
She shook the hands of the leadership team and exited the room. Hours later at lunch the project team complained about their superior’s lack of acknowledgement. She empathized and then closed out the conversation with one of her favorite quotes of President Trumans
“It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
The team was dumbfounded. Yet, she remained composed and the impression she left on them was unforgettable. Her ultimate desire was to challenge herself to come up with incredible ideas in order to push the organization forward and she had accomplished that. Recognition was not important to her because though her ideas fueled the project she was unable to see it through by herself as it was a true team effort. Knowing this would not be the last project she would work on with this team, it became even more important to her that they all were comfortable with each other and were proud of their accomplishments regardless of outside recognition.
It may be obvious that a leader such as their superior, drives away loyal employees.
However, is it just as obvious that leaders like her, whom aren’t in a designated leadership role, draw loyal employees in?
Humble leaders exist at every level of the organization and it’s important to foster this development within a culture. Fostering a culture that embraces humility first starts with your approach to discussions within your organization. Encouraging open dialogue by asking vulnerable questions and admitting you do not know it all will allow others to feel at ease and trust that they are valued for their input.