Humility is Vital in Leadership

For many, a pitfall to leadership, and why some refrain from the responsibility of leadership, is the allure of arrogance and pride. Leadership is strongly tied to decision making, authority, and control of the people and things under a leaders purview (Northouse, 2013). A natural by-product, if not intentionally checked, is the development of an attitude that communicates superiority to followers (Northouse, 2013). Effective leaders who want to avoid the development of such a detrimental attitude must intentional develop the virtue of humility.

The life of a leader proceeds from humility (Crowther, 2011). Leaders who operate from a sense of humility strengthen their influence in the lives of their followers because it does not give off the perspective of superiority and appearing all knowing (Elrod, 2013). Instead, leaders who operate from a humble perspective allow others to feel comfortable in their presence and open to engage in processes of change (Elrod, 2013). Which is the focus of leader: to operate as change agents (Northouse, 2013).

In the endeavor of transformational change, humility from leaders is a must. In order for change to occur, whether it is organizational or personal, individuals have to choose to change. Humility has been identified as as a necessary component of any kind of transformational change, especially if the change requires individuals to abandon pride and embrace help from others (Lovelock et al., 2014). Leaders have the ability, through their humble approach to influence, to create an environment where people can approach transformational change openly and with enthusiasm, in hopes of assisting followers reach their full potential (Elrod, 2013).

Leaders can be agents of transformational change through the development of humility, which allows them to create an environment open to change, flexible for change (Phillips, 1995), and fruitful in life (Crowther, 2011).


Crowther, S. S. (2011). Integral Biblical Leadership. Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership, vol. 3(no. 2), pp. 60–76.

Davis, D. E., & Hook, J. N. (2014). Humility, religion, and spirituality: an endpiece. Journal of Psychology & Theology, 42(1), 111–117.

Elrod, D. J. (2013). Of Confidence and Humility. Strategic Finance, 95(8), 17–18.

Lavelock, C. R., Worthington, E. L., Davis, D. E., Griffin, B. J., Reid, C. A., Hook, J. N., & Van Tongeren, D. R. (2014). The quiet virtue speaks: an intervention to promote humility. Journal of Psychology & Theology, 42(1), 99–110.

Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

Phillips, R. (1995). Coaching for higher performance. Executive Development, 8(7), 5–7.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.