Author Topic: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses  (Read 1520 times)

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Offline daftandbarmy

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The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« on: October 15, 2018, 16:45:46 »
The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses

Organizations are making a push to hire and promote workers who lead effectively but don’t seek the spotlight

After decades of screening potential leaders for charm and charisma, some employers are realizing they’ve been missing one of the most important traits of all: humility.

In an era when hubris is rewarded on social media and in business and politics, researchers and employment experts say turning the limelight on humble people might yield better results.

Humility is a core quality of leaders who inspire close teamwork, rapid learning and high performance in their teams, according to several studies in the past three years. Humble people tend to be aware of their own weaknesses, eager to improve themselves, appreciative of others’ strengths and focused on goals beyond their own self-interest.

Among employees, it’s linked to lower turnover and absenteeism. These strengths are often overlooked because humble people tend to fly under the radar, making outsiders think it’s their teams doing all the work.

More companies are taking humility into account in making hiring and promotion decisions. Researchers are developing new methods of tracking this low-key trait.

Hogan Assessments, a leading maker of workplace personality tests, plans to unveil a new 20-item scale early in 2019 designed to measure humility in job seekers and candidates for leadership posts, says Ryne Sherman, chief science officer for the Tulsa, Okla., company. The scale will prompt people to agree or disagree with such statements as, “I appreciate other people’s advice at work,” or “I’m entitled to more respect than the average person.”

“Most of the thinking suggests leaders should be charismatic, attention-seeking and persuasive,” Dr. Sherman says. “Yet such leaders tend to ruin their companies because they take on more than they can handle, are overconfident and don’t listen to feedback from others,” he says.
Humble leaders can also be highly competitive and ambitious. But they tend to avoid the spotlight and give credit to their teams, Dr. Sherman says. They also ask for help and listen to feedback from others, setting an example that causes subordinates to do the same.

More employers are also screening entry-level recruits for humility. That’s partly because it predicts ethical behavior and longer tenure on the job, says Adam Miller, chief executive of Cornerstone OnDemand, a Santa Monica, Calif., provider of talent-management software.
The apparel company Patagonia begins scrutinizing job applicants for humility as soon as they walk through the door for interviews. Managers screening new recruits follow up by asking receptionists, “How did they engage at the front desk?” says Dean Carter, global head of human resources for the Ventura, Calif.-based company.

If staff members report disrespectful or self-absorbed behavior, “that can be a deal killer,” he says. Fostering humility makes employees at all levels feel free to suggest ideas, Mr. Carter says. Humble employees also are more likely to support the company’s mission of helping solve environmental problems.

In interviews, he asks applicants to tell him about a time when they experienced a major failure. “If they say, ‘Wow, let me think about this, because there are a lot of times when I’ve messed things up,’ that says a lot,” he says. “If they have to pick among a lot of humble learning moments, that’s good.”

Indian Hotels, operator of the luxury Taj Hotels in the U.S. and elsewhere, uses Hogan’s assessments, among others, to screen potential leaders. “Humility is an emotional skill leaders need to have,” says P.V. Ramana Murthy, global head of human resources for the Mumbai-based company. Humility gives rise to deep listening, respect for diverse views and a willingness to hear suggestions and feedback, he says.
The company also tries to instill humility in senior executives through coaching and a nine-month training program.
If you think you know which of your colleagues are humble, you could easily be wrong. Humble people don’t flaunt it. And many workers, including arrogant ones, try to be seen as humble and helpful to make a good impression, says Kibeom Lee, a psychology professor at the University of Calgary in Alberta.

Hogan’s new humility scale is based in part on research by Dr. Lee and Michael Ashton, a psychology professor at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. After reviewing personality research in several languages years ago, they identified a combination of humility and honesty, or what they called the H factor, as a stable personality trait.

It’s marked by a cluster of attributes that appear consistently in some people, including sincerity, modesty, fairness, truthfulness and unpretentiousness. The same people tend to avoid manipulating others, bending the rules or behaving in greedy or hypocritical ways. The H factor is included in a free online personality inventory they developed.

Workplace researchers often rely on subordinates’ reports to assess leaders’ level of humility. In a 2015 study of 326 employees working on 77 teams at a health-care company, researchers asked team members to assess their managers’ humility, based on a scale including their willingness to learn from others or admit when they don’t know how to do something. Team members also assessed their teams’ attitudes and performance.

Teams with humble leaders performed better and did higher-quality work than teams whose leaders exhibited less humility, according to lead researcher Bradley P. Owens, an associate professor of business ethics at Brigham Young University.

The performance gains held up independently of how much team leaders exhibited other positive leadership qualities unrelated to humility.
Some challenges may call for a different leadership style. For example, employees facing extreme threats or intense time pressure might perform better when a leader takes a more authoritative, top-down approach, Dr. Owens says.

However, companies with humble chief executives are more likely than others to have upper-management teams that work smoothly together, help each other and share decision-making, according to a study of 105 computer hardware and software firms published in the Journal of Management.

Such companies also are likely to have smaller pay gaps between the CEO and other senior executives. These factors predict closer collaboration among all senior executives, which in turn leads to greater companywide efficiency, innovation and profitability, researchers found.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-best-bosses-are-humble-bosses-1539092123
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Xylric

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2018, 01:28:47 »
One of the key reasons I've been continually reappointed to chair the board of the game development company I helped found in 2012 is because I have always been honest that I am only there for so long as people want me to remain. I'm not on the board because I want to be, nor am I the business director because of the prestige and influence the role gives me. I'm there because so far, the company's stakeholders have not found anyone who can do a better job. Even if they did find someone, I'd be the first to congratulate my replacement.

It's odd, but it seems to me that the most effective leaders in the start-up space are those who can effectively balance ambition and humility. I have my grave doubts that I am one such person, but every ambition I've had for the company, we've already met and surpassed - one of our side ventures (creating a physical costume for someone to wear at conventions) resulted in the design and manufacture of an award-winning 3D printable terminal device, which has actually been used to help people in several locations around the world. Not only that, we've possibly got the most diverse workforce in the industry, with more than half its staff having some form of neurological divergence (such as ASD, ADHD, epilepsy, ABI, colour-blindness, cerebral palsy, and many others).

Being the leader of this group has likely been the most memorable learning experience in my life, so I absolutely agree with the findings of this article. It's funny, I actually had to be told that I was essentially the head of the company, because when we were starting it, my initial task was simply to create our business model and trust it to the development team. They didn't let me leave.  :rofl:

Knowing the fact that the people you work with have an incredibly high level of mutual loyalty is in itself very humbling - especially when I'm natively quite arrogant!

Thanks for this read.

Online mariomike

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2018, 13:19:51 »
Some of the best bosses may work "behind the scenes", so to speak.

Our boss was stationed miles away, and we seldom saw him.

Offline Xylric

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2018, 15:39:16 »
Some of the best bosses may work "behind the scenes", so to speak.

Our boss was stationed miles away, and we seldom saw him.

Exactly how I try to do things with my company. We have no physical office, so interact through a series of chat/workrooms. The only "production" work room I'm in is for the design and update of our web presence, simply because I've been requested to provide oversight for marketing/PR purposes. Every other department, I only interact with the leads on an as-needed basis.

My twin brother works in the project in conflict resolution as well as as an assistant to me, so everyone involved knows that if there is a problem which can't be solved through our traditional means, I can be approached directly. I am trusted simply because I am trusting, and the reviews I've been given in terms of my "performance" is that as far as most are concerned, I don't need to do anything other than steer the company in ethics and moral behaviour.

Which makes the social and political disagreements that come up around our "water cooler" quite interesting to examine. Since we're building a comic book MMO focused on superheros and villains, we need to have a level of divergence in order to accurately portray in narrative. I'm amused that I've been labelled one of the villainous cadre among the developers, but it does make sense. I'm viewed as inscrutable.

I once had one of our developers tell me that he figured I would be offended if he told me that I was trustworthy. Not because I was duplicitous, but because I was inscrutable. As he explained it using the fable of the Scorpion and the Frog, I understood very easily what he meant. He could not trust me to do anything other that act in accordance to my nature - even though he could not accurately determine what that was. There's a reason why my management style has the ultimate goal of making myself redundant - while there are those who benefit from micromanagement, it is my experience that the more you trust people to work without you keeping close attention, the more effectively they'll use their intuition and initiative. One of our biggest technical problems was solved entirely by accident due to someone doing something no one asked them to do.

It takes a lot of trust to successfully be a remote boss, and the fastest way to gain trust as a boss is to demonstrate humility. At least, this is as far as my experience goes.

Online mariomike

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2018, 17:37:44 »
It takes a lot of trust to successfully be a remote boss, and the fastest way to gain trust as a boss is to demonstrate humility.

Ours was humble. But, he had the strength of character to fight it.  :)

Offline Xylric

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2018, 18:32:23 »
Makes sense to me. :)

Online Blackadder1916

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2018, 18:34:40 »
The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses

Organizations are making a push to hire and promote workers who lead effectively but don’t seek the spotlight

. . .

. . .  I've . . . I . . . I . . .  I . . . me . . . I'm . . . I . . . I . . .  me . . . I'm . . .  I'd . . . my . . .  .

. . .  me . . .  I . . . my . . . I . . . I've . . . .

. . . my . . . I . . . I . . .  I . . . my . . .  me . . .

. . .  especially when I'm natively quite arrogant!

. . . I . . . my . . . I'm . . . I've . . . I . . . .

My . . . me . . . I . . . I . . .  I . . .  I've . . . my . . . I . . .

. . .  I'm . . .  I've . . .  I'm . . .

I . . .  me . . . I . . .  me . . . I . . . I . . . I . . . I . . . me . . . my . . . my . . . my

. . .  the fastest way to gain trust as a boss is to demonstrate humility. At least, this is as far as my experience goes.

Yup, humility.
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Offline Xylric

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2018, 19:48:15 »
I was writing subjectively, which necessarily means speaking from my own perception and point of view. Counting the number of times a person refers to themselves in a piece of writing has never been all that effective a means of measuring their humility. Especially when they are the only available representative of the organisation being described.

I do get the intent of your rebuke, and appreciate it. It *is* rather difficult to claim to be humble and speak only of one's self at the same time. You're not wrong that the way I approached the subject isn't indicative of much humility, but it's also true that to write my own subjective perspective without referring to myself would result in an uncomfortable grammatical mess. I'd rather not subject people to such things.

The reality is, compared to nearly everyone else involved, I have no useful skills beyond simply putting together the data to create our business model. I'm not an artist or a programmer, nor is there much experience when it comes to game design. The fact that the rest of the team had to *tell* me that I was appointed to be in charge is something that should be found amusing, more than anything.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2018, 20:07:49 by Xylric »

Online mariomike

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2018, 09:00:15 »
Oscar Levant had something to say about almost every subject, including this one.  :)

"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility; there are so few of us left."

"I am no more humble than my talents require."
« Last Edit: October 21, 2018, 10:45:59 by mariomike »

Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2018, 09:15:58 »
I was writing subjectively, which necessarily means speaking from my own perception and point of view. Counting the number of times a person refers to themselves in a piece of writing has never been all that effective a means of measuring their humility. Especially when they are the only available representative of the organisation being described.

I do get the intent of your rebuke, and appreciate it. It *is* rather difficult to claim to be humble and speak only of one's self at the same time. You're not wrong that the way I approached the subject isn't indicative of much humility, but it's also true that to write my own subjective perspective without referring to myself would result in an uncomfortable grammatical mess. I'd rather not subject people to such things.

The reality is, compared to nearly everyone else involved, I have no useful skills beyond simply putting together the data to create our business model. I'm not an artist or a programmer, nor is there much experience when it comes to game design. The fact that the rest of the team had to *tell* me that I was appointed to be in charge is something that should be found amusing, more than anything.

That story didn’t need to be said and didn’t bring anything to the original post.  It only served at tooting your own horn...

Offline Xylric

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2018, 19:14:53 »
Possibly.

I think it *did* serve to demonstrate that the point of the original point is something that the company I'm involved with is striving to recognize, so it was a useful anecdote for other reasons.

Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2018, 20:21:07 »
Possibly.

I think it *did* serve to demonstrate that the point of the original point is something that the company I'm involved with is striving to recognize, so it was a useful anecdote for other reasons.
If your story came from a subbordinate - sure.  The fact it comes from you shows a lack of humility, which is, ironically, the opposite of what the article preaches. 

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2018, 20:24:04 »
Yeesh, the guy was trying to add his personal experience to the discussion.  Lighten up.
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Offline Xylric

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2018, 20:53:30 »
Yeesh, the guy was trying to add his personal experience to the discussion.  Lighten up.

Thank you.

Truth be told - trying to be humble is difficult in the first place. I fail far more often than I am comfortable with, but I find that since those failings are motivated by an honest desire to better myself and those around me, they are quite excusable.

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2018, 22:10:25 »
If your story came from a subbordinate - sure.  The fact it comes from you shows a lack of humility, which is, ironically, the opposite of what the article preaches.

There is a certain delicious irony in watching a fighter pilot lecture others about humility.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2018, 22:17:18 »
There is a certain delicious irony in watching a fighter pilot lecture others about humility.

 :rofl:
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2018, 22:40:19 »
There is a certain delicious irony in watching a fighter pilot lecture others about humility.

Ah!  Stereotypes.

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2018, 23:26:58 »
Come on, Max. You lobbed that one right out there, nice and soft like.

If I hadn't have hit it, somebody else would have.  ;D

For record, I do not know Max personally. I take him at his word that he is a humble fighter pilot.

Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2018, 23:35:58 »
Come on, Max. You lobbed that one right out there, nice and soft like.

If I hadn't have hit it, somebody else would have.  ;D

For record, I do not know Max personally. I take him at his word that he is a humble fighter pilot.

I know :). And I never said I was humble!

Offline Xylric

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Re: The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2018, 11:22:44 »
I know :). And I never said I was humble!

Of course you're a humble fighter pilot.

You're Canadian.  ;D