Humility Ability

Yesterday, I posted an entry about an interview in which Lorin Maazel, music director of the New York Philharmonic, mentioned humility as a key leadership trait.

In the October issue of Harvard Business Review, social psychologist Roderick Kramer encourages CEOs to “keep your big head in check.” Among his advice to leaders:

  • Keep your life simple
  • Hang a lantern on your foibles
  • Float trial balloons
  • Sweat the small stuff
  • Reflect more, not less

Deposed Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski, whose trial continues apace, would have been well-served to follow the above advice. Not only are prosecutors charging Kozlowski with stealing $600 million from the company, but a four-hour video tape captures scenes at a birthday party in Sardinia that Kozlowski billed to Tyco. With trappings such as chariots, men dressed as gladiators, a Jimmy Buffet performance, and a birthday cake shaped like a woman’s upper body, the party seems anything but humble.

Self-confidence is one thing. But how can leaders better balance confidence and pride with humility?