Leadership is more of an art than a science. While there may be many laws, principles, techniques needed to lead, their is a fluidity about when and how to use each technique. That flow is what requires leaders to employ creativity and a mixing of the elements. There is an equilibrium between confidence and humility, giving feedback and being empathetic, listening intently and holding people accountable. Just like the art in a museum, leaders work with a variety texture, color, and depth.
The delicate balance of true confidence and genuine humility includes understanding the significant value and influence we can have on an individual or organization. This confidence is not self-serving but focused on making a constructive difference. This genuine desire to make a powerful difference is balanced with humility — the understanding that we are no better, no more important, than any other team member. Leaders recognize that nothing significant can be accomplished alone. Everyone’s attracted to confidence and yet most of us are repelled by arrogance.
Confident and humble people speak with an assurance and certainty. They are fueled by small victories and yet they don’t seek attention. In fact, when given accolades for a specific accomplishment they are quick to point out all the people that worked on that particular project. They are always celebrating the success of others. They listen more than they speak because they realize no one person can have all the answers. They are constantly aware that they have more to learn. Because they understand what they are capable of and what their limitation are, they aren’t afraid of being wrong. Often times, we learn the most from our mistakes. The art that evolves from the balance of confidence and humility is often called leadership.
Dave Fleming says, “To start a fire you must both surrender to and tend the flame.” The same dynamic is true in leadership. Knowing that we have both something to do and something to yield to makes leadership less predictable and more adventurous.
To explore this topic further, join me for Art of Leading Workshop. More information here.