Leadership and Humility

Internal Audit Leadership, the view from the top

‘Lay first the foundation of humility…The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation’ St Augustine

The concept of Humility attached to Leadership, along with Service and Leadership, can cause confusion. Some see words such as humility and service as ‘weak’, ‘passive’, and ‘submissive’. Which they therefore assume means these behaviours have no place in leadership. However humility and service have absolutely nothing to do with weakness or submission.

The following three examples which are role models for great leadership, are defined by humility and service, and could not be less weak or submissive…

The British SAS

US Navy Seals

The All Blacks (NZ Rugby Union Team)

These organisations know that to be as strong as they are, and to have leadership skills as strong as they have, they need to be rooted in humility and service.

For all three they are fighting for, playing for, a bigger cause, they are acting in service to something other than self. It is not personal ego, success, or position, but instead the team, the cause, the purpose is what they are serving. Serving to Lead is not about submission to others, it is about using all that you are to serve the group and the goal.

To do this effectively you first need humility. To serve the bigger cause, to be an effective leader, you need the humility to understand you don’t have all the answers you aren’t, and don’t have to be, the best at everything, and you have constant scope to learn, grow and be more.

To be clear you need confidence in yourself in order to be humble. Humility does not mean lack of confidence. As and when advantageous to the group, you still need to be able to make quick effective decisions, to lead by example and take responsibility. However you will be much better at doing that if you have built your skill sets as a leader on Humility

Published by davidhaylor

Founder and CEO of IAC. My role is to provide the strategy, direction and leadership for IAC. Operationally I focus on delivering the very best Internal Audit leadership talent for our clients across the US.

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