Leadership: conviction with humility
A client recently asked me how I reconcile the importance of humility in leadership with the need for conviction. I must confess he really made me think. And I am not sure my first response showed either enough humility or enough conviction.
Let me have another go with the benefit of some reflection. Humility matters because it enables us to see ourselves truthfully. To admit our doubts, to face our fears, to ask for help. In doing that, we build trust with those around us, essential for relationships and critical for leadership. From the moment I admitted that I didn’t know the best strategy to unlock faster growth in Value Partnership, the help just kept coming. The whole team is working the problem today I am happy to say!
Conviction matters because once we have made a decision, in the face of all uncertainty and doubt, we leaders need to take others with us. And we need to provide a narrative for the team, one that makes sense to them and ideally inspires them. This requires courage for we might be wrong – and as a result we might lose ‘face’. In this world our plans often do not ‘survive first contact with the enemy’. And we need to be ready for that.
If that turns out to be true then humility will once again serve us well. Humility and conviction. Both precious and definitely not a contradiction.