Writing about humility in leadership doesn’t feel very humble. For me, it’s especially challenging as I would rather stay out of the headlines and just do my thing at Delta. This topic also requires me to be a bit transparent about myself, providing insight into what makes me tick as a leader.
I believe that one of the most important characteristics of humble leaders is that what they do is not about them. This may be obvious, and you probably know it, but it is a core belief.
So, if humble leaders embrace the notion that what they do is not about them, what drives them?
Here are six characteristics of humble leadership:
- Humble leaders are driven to achieve for others. For 22 years, I’ve been focused on two simple things: solve problems for real estate professionals and build an organization that people call their “work home.” It has never been about me. It’s all about seeing the success of our partners and the nearly 100 families who are part of our family.
- Humble leaders take ownership and give their team credit for what they do. Twenty years ago, I had an argument with two team members about the direction of our database structure. We could not afford to make the wrong decision. At the end of the day, it was my decision and I had to own it. If it failed, it was my fault. The decision I made would have never happened without the input of those two. Humble leaders take ownership and give their team credit for the success they make possible.
- Humble leaders manage money, rather than being driven by it. We all know leaders who claim to be humble, but are driven by money, destroying others for their own gain. Humble leaders are never driven by money, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make money. Their job is to manage the money and execute in their business.
- Humble leaders love seeing those in their care excel. Challenge your leadership team to train their replacements. It seems crazy, right?! But that’s what humble leaders do. If you’re in leadership, the only way you can truly excel is by constantly training your replacement.
- Humble leaders hire people who are smarter and better than them. Why would anyone ever want to hire people not as good as themselves? Yet, you see this repeatedly. Humble leaders seek smarter and better people than themselves for the overall success of the team.
- Humble leaders own the failures of those they lead. Leaders own the performance, or lack thereof, of those they lead. You can’t blame someone under you for lack of performance. Good, humble leaders own the failures of those they lead.
While there are complete books on these topics, it’s important to bubble up this conversation, especially with new leaders coming into the real estate industry. The value of humility in leadership is a trait every leader should embrace.
Michael Minard is CEO and owner of Delta Media Group, a leading and trusted technology partner for many of real estate’s top brands, and 100% family-owned and operated.