As our companies grow, it can be easy to think that normal, mundane, everyday tasks are now beneath us. We may quickly outsource or delegate the mundane activities in favor of the “bigger picture projects.”
With growth may come an expectation that the leader is going to be dealing with more high-level planning. After all, who better to deal with strategy than you? We may start offloading our day-to-day responsibilities in favor of planning and strategy.
Yet there are countless examples of leaders who still do the mundane things that their lowest paid workers do. These are not CEOs who want to just cast vision for the future. They roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty with the everyday, common tasks.
When you put aside your ego as a leader, interesting things can happen. Here are some reasons why being humble as a leader may actually help improve the company’s bottom line.
Humbleness can help you hire better employees.
Some company leaders can be brash, outspoken and egotistical. It may be easy for potential employees going through the interview process to spot these types of leaders. They can likely smell the ego a mile away.
It can be refreshing for people to interview with a leader who not only works closely on the day-to-day operations, but also doesn’t fill the room with their ego. Not only do they want the job, they also want to work with that leader.
You don’t have to be great at math to figure out that when more people want to work for you, you’ll likely have a better talent pool to pick from.
Humbleness can help you retain employees.
A leader who can put aside his ego and let others have authority to make decisions may have more invested employees.
Chances are good that at some point people have worked for bosses who fancy themselves All Knowing. Their way is always best, and there's no discussion or leeway about it.
This behavior can be degrading to employees. Job satisfaction just doesn’t stem from the salary; it can be in things like company’s values, culture, leadership and job autonomy.
It can be completely freeing and liberating to work for someone who lets you make decisions, instead of having tasks delegated without input. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some incredible people over the years. I had one leader in particular who led out of humbleness, and I’ve never forgotten it. He is the leader I hope to be, and I think about his impact often.
Employees will likely rally around the leader who is fighting alongside them. There’s a big difference in working for someone and working with someone.
Humbleness can help give perspective.
One of the first things a business owner may do as they become more successful is offload responsibilities.
Yet when you remove yourself completely from the day-to-day workings of your company, you can lose perspective. You might forget how hard people work on day-to-day tasks, and give too much prominence to your ideas and vision for the company. (Enter that old saw about “not seeing the forest for the trees”.)
Knowing your company’s place in the market may be important, but knowing your place in the company is also important.
Humbleness can help you find bottlenecks (and better solutions).
When you stay in tune with the mundane and smaller parts of your business, you may personally experience the failings of your company. You may find inefficiencies, bad workflows and bottlenecks, which could be excellent.
Not only can these discoveries allow you to see and fix these issues firsthand, but it might also give you an idea for a future product. If your company is having this problem, there may be a good chance that other companies are, too. Some of the best products can be born out of necessity.
Humbleness can help keep you sharp.
It’s easy to skate by as a leader if you don’t have to answer for anything. It may be hard for people to question the boss because, hey, you’re the boss! Who's going to go against what you say?
Well, a humble leader does encourage helpful criticism. After all, this criticism could save you a boatload of money in the future if you catch a problem within your company early on.
Leaders should be questioned. You should have people “below you” ensuring that the company’s decisions (see: your decisions) are the best decisions.
When employees do this, they’re probably not being disrespectful. Rather, they actually care about the success of your company. There may be nothing worse than a complacent employee, who won’t speak up when he sees something wrong. You want people who are passionate and care about your decisions, because this means they’re invested in your company.
Humbleness can be hard, because it means we have to shrug off some of our insecurities as leaders. But if we can do that, we may enable our employees to truly be invested in our company and culture.
Read more articles about leadership skills.