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The best leaders are usually humble

Blair McPherson - former Director, Author and Blogger

As an experienced management recruiter I have seen how interview panels respond to candidates who are confident and refer to the positive impression created by a candidate how has demonstrated nothing more than the ability to be pleasant and agreeable. As a long time mentor I encourage managers to become more self aware to recognise the effect their behaviour has on others and to use this insight to modify how they manage people and relate to colleagues.

This observation on who is appointed and my approach to helping managers be better leaders is in recognition that  what it takes to get the job is different to what it takes to do the job well. This  is because people in general commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence and are fooled into mistaking  charisma or charm for leadership potential.

To be a good leader you need to be a good people manager to have
the ability to build and maintain high-performing teams, to inspire followers to set aside their selfish agendas in order to work for the common interest of the group. Indeed, whether in sports, politics or business, the best leaders are usually humble.

Humble managers are more likely to elicit respect and pride from their followers, communicate their vision effectively, empower and mentor subordinates, and approach problem-solving in a more flexible and creative way as well as fairly reward direct reports. In contrast, incompetent managers are less likely to bond or connect with their subordinates, and they are relatively more inept at rewarding them for their actual performance. Incompetent leaders  are more arrogant, manipulative and risk-prone.

Research by academics summarised by Professor Tomas Chamorro- Premuzic (Harvard Business Review) confirms most people’s experience that good leadership is the exception not the norm and that the quality of management within organisations suffers from the fact that the wrong people are promoted. Whilst organisations focus on how to have a more diverse group of managers, how to smash the glass ceiling and how to develop existing managers people skills  a much bigger problem is the lack of career obstacles for the incompetent and over confident.

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