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52. The Paradox of Humble Leadership

When it comes to what we’re looking for in a leader, we’ve seen a major swing over the last three decades. At first we wanted confident and authoritative leaders, but now we are repulsed by narcissistic, bottom-line mentality leadership.

Hence the rise of the humble leader - someone who doesn’t pretend that they know everything and signals the importance of learning from others.

The problem, however, is that egregious displays of humility can backfire. Although employees want leaders that admit when they don’t know something, they also want leaders who know what they are doing.

Humility is good, but exhibiting an extreme amount of humility to come across as more “likable” is unnecessary. Employees want advice and direction just as much as they want open-mindedness.


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