Self-absorbed daffodils are inferior in their productivity to humble leaders
How productive is a character trait such as humility productive? This is surprising, but the results of a study of 150+ small and medium-sized companies showed that:
- under the leadership of a humble leader, the top staff of the company is inspired by cooperation, exchange of experience and dedication;
- the humility of the leader is contagious: followers begin to imitate their leader;
- Following the example of a humble leader, employees are more willing to admit their mistakes and their limitations;
- lose their propensity to ascribe merit to themselves, and share them with colleagues;
- employees are also open to new ideas, tips and feedback.
So what of this? How practical is this for us? This Harvard Business Review article explains why egocentric daffodils give way to a humble leader. Why, however, we tend to give preference to daffodils, rather than humble leaders. And good advice is also given that will help us create a healthy atmosphere in the workplace - even if we are ordinary employees. An atmosphere in which we ourselves will be pleased and comfortable to work.
Humble, modest leaders create a healthy atmosphere of cooperation around them, leading to improved long-term organizational prospects. Such leaders:
- holistic view of ourselves;
- they clearly understand their strengths and weaknesses;
- able to appreciate the strengths of other people and their contribution to the common cause;
- they are also truly open to new ideas and feedback;
- these “unsung heroes” help their devotees find themselves and overcome themselves;
- create a spirit of collectivism, contributing to the unification of individual efforts into a single productive channel, favorable for each member of the team individually, and the whole team.
Why are we so attracted to charismatic daffodils
At the same time, by a strange coincidence, we ignore the positive example of humble leaders, “unsung heroes”, and are seduced by superheroes: applauding sparkling daffodil leaders, radiating “an attractive role model for an effective leader.” Their high energy, unconventional behavior, a bold vision of the future and recklessness.
All these seemingly attractive character traits of the narcissus leader are crossed out by a tendency to abuse power, exploit wards, be arrogant, pursue exclusively selfish goals; lack of empathy, a strong sense of exceptional rightness. In addition, the leader’s narcissism paralyzes the team’s ability to share valuable experience; and adversely affects team productivity.
Therefore, our choice in favor of daffodil leaders is highly irrational. We do it only because of the influence of the charisma of the narcissistic leader, which is expressed in the ability to radiate “an attractive role model for an effective leader”; and the ability to attract the attention of the public. However, not only daffodil leaders possess charisma, but also moderate leaders. That's just their charisma is fundamentally different - it encourages to take care of the interests of the whole team, and not about their ambition.
If humble leaders are more effective, why don't they attract us
If humble leaders are more effective than daffodil leaders - why do we often prefer the latter? The fact is that when people are unsure of themselves or are experiencing some other psychological crisis, they will most likely make an irrational choice in favor of the superhero narcissus; without realizing what adverse consequences this promises. Followers of superheroes admire their skill.
Thanks to their charisma, daffodil leaders turn the work environment into a competitive game, where their followers also become more self-centered; leading to organizational narcissism. The situation is aggravated by the fact that narcissistic leaders are very interested in maintaining an atmosphere of anxiety and uncertainty, since such an atmosphere represents ideal conditions for the collective to perceive the charisma of the narcissus leader, idolize him and move him upstairs. This is what the narcissus seeks, and therefore maintains an appropriate atmosphere. As this atmosphere is condensed, the collective ability to rationally choose a humble leader becomes less and less. As a result, economic and social crises are becoming commonplace.
What we ourselves, such are our leaders
So, being internally insecure personalities (each of us suffers from this to one degree or another), we will most likely make an irrational, unpromising choice in favor of the narcissistic leader. A rational choice in favor of a humble leader is made only by those who are guided in their lives by a clear set of genuine values. However, the tendency to make irrational choices is very understandable. During a crisis, it’s easy to be seduced by superheroes who will come and save us; but it is equally difficult to appreciate the fact that even greater danger could follow this salvation.
At the same time, although such a development of events may seem hopeless, you can look at it from a different angle. In fact, we deserve the leaders we have; such as ourselves, such are our leaders. Therefore, if we change ourselves, then our leaders will change. By making a conscious choice towards humility rather than narcissism, we can achieve positive changes. T.O. the choice is ours.
1. Margarita Mayo. If Humble People Make the Best Leaders, Why Do We Fall for Charismatic Narcissists? // Harvard Business Review (Digital). 2017.
- Pictures taken from periodicals at Harvard Business School.
It is clear that “leadership through humility” is a rarity even in charitable organizations, not to mention commercial ones. Nevertheless, please share positive stories from life stories (in the comments), when you did encounter manifestations of “leadership through humility” at work (especially if this experience was gained inside a mature DevOps team).
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It is clear that “leadership through humility” is a rarity even in charitable organizations, not to mention commercial ones. Nevertheless, what positive manifestations of humble leadership have you encountered at work?
- 45% under the leadership of a humble leader, the top staff of the company is inspired by cooperation, exchange of experience and dedication 9
- 50% humility of the leader is contagious: followers begin to imitate their leader 10
- 40% following the example of a humble leader, employees are more willing to admit their mistakes and their limitations 8
- 60% of humble leaders lose their inclination to attribute merit to themselves, and share them with colleagues 12
- 55% under the leadership of a humble leader, employees are open to new ideas, tips and feedback 11
- 20% humble leaders have a holistic view of themselves 4
- 35% they clearly understand their strengths and weaknesses 7
- 55% are able to appreciate the strengths of other people and their contribution to the common cause 11
- 60% are also truly open to new ideas and feedback 12
- 35% of these “unsung heroes” help their devotees find themselves and overcome themselves 7
- 65% create a spirit of collectivism, contributing to the unification of individual efforts into a single productive channel, favorable for each member of the team individually, and the whole team 13