We all know that humility is a moral virtue. We instinctively admire leaders who put others first, who are quick to share credit and slow to blame. But new research shows that humility is not just about being nice — it’s also smart. As this great story from Ashley Merryman demonstrates, humility is a catalyst for group growth.
As Owens and Hekman wrote in Academy of Management Journal, “Our findings suggest that humility appears to embolden individuals to aspire to their highest potential and enables them to make the incremental improvements necessary to progress toward that potential.”
It isn’t empty false praise or inflated self-esteem or tearing others down that pushes us to work to become our best selves. It’s humility.
Isn’t that terrific? It reminds me of a phrase I heard from a Navy SEALs commander during the research for the new book: a backbone of humility. I love that because it shows that humility isn’t weakness; it’s a strength.