The Best Dessert for Leaders

My wife loves dessert, she has a self-admitted sweet tooth whereas I do not. In fact, I often will just sit there and watch her have dessert after a meal. It was never my thing honestly. Growing up my mentality was that if I can eat dessert then I didn’t have enough of my main course.

Nonetheless, I digress that there is one dessert in particular which I enjoy and will fully admit that I eat it on a regular basis — that dessert is “humble pie.”

Yes warm, tasty, and sometimes bitter humble pie. Often people will look at me in disbelief when I say this. “But you’re a leader, heck you have your own podcast and coach people in leadership. How is it that you can doubt yourself like that?!

It’s not about doubting myself, it is about admitting my weaknesses. You see, as a leader you cannot know it all, it’s simply impossible. Those leaders who believe the opposite generally end up end leading teams who do not respect them. So let’s dive in and look at this.

Leaders who are humble

Leaders who embrace humility enjoy a number of benefits compared to their egocentric cousins.

  1. Respect — First off, leaders who embrace humility gain the respect of their teams quicker and deeper than those who do not. Humility enables your people to relate to you at a personal level and more importantly the inverse is true. When people connect at a personal level then relationships and respect grow stronger.
  2. Learning mindset — By embracing humility leaders actually empower their people and promote a learning mindset within their organization. Humility allows you to admit your mistakes, then if you admit your mistakes your people will follow suit. When people admit mistakes then they are willing and will try to learn from those mistakes. This is the core of a learning mindset within an organization.
  3. Leader loyalty — Humility actually promotes the leader to the point where people will become loyal to that person and will follow them wherever they go both ideology or physically. The reason for this is that by being humble people can relate to their leader. And when people relate to a leader then they are more likely to want to stay with said leader.

Know it all Leaders

Those leaders who do not embrace humility are basically “know-it-alls” and unfortunately are subject to the following downfalls:

  1. Lack of innovation — Leaders who think that they know everything and do no admit mistakes will kill innovation within an organization. Their people will quickly believe that the leader will have all the answers and any idea or suggestion will simply not be good enough.
  2. Lack of communication — Organizations where leaders are not humble have downward spirals of communication. People simply do not wish to communicate with the leader for fear of backlash or they may believe that they leader will already know what is going on. Additionally, if people cannot relate to their leader then they will believe that they cannot communicate on the level that the leader is on which just makes the situation even worse.

How to be Humble

My father often sings a tune “oh Lord it’s hard to be humble…” which is odd as he is one of the most humble men I know. Nonetheless being humble is fairly straightforward but sometimes you just need to be reminded of it.

  1. Show your weaknesses — No one is perfect. So embrace humility by openly talk about what your weaknesses are. In turn, someone on your team likely will have that as a strength and then you use this to your advantage to round out the team.
  2. Admit your mistakes — Just like above, no one is perfect and we all admit mistakes. For some reason, leaders have a hard time with this concept but need to fully embrace it. I constantly inform my people that they need to be upfront with their mistakes to me but on the other hand we as leaders need to do the same.
  3. Laugh at yourself — Seriously, when you do something stupid laugh at yourself, allow yourself to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is what makes people human and when you are seen as a human then you empower your people to relate to you and then admire you.

For those who know me and have been lead by me know that I love my humble pie. I am constantly eating it and making sure that everyone around know that I am eating it. In the end, it keeps my ego in check, allows my people relate to me, and ultimately it makes me a better leader.

Have a good humble pie story? I’d love to know. Be sure to share in the comments section below!