Global Leadership Summit Session 7a: John Dickson
Dickson is the of the book Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership.
Humility is not humiliation, it is not low self esterme. It is the noble choice to forgo your statues and use your influence for the good of others, not yourself. To withhold power for the good of others. Humility makes the great greater. [It doesn’t make you great?]
1. Humility is common sense. None of us is an expert at everything. Expertise in one area counts for very little in another. A true expert should know this better than anyone. “Competency extrapolation” is when you think that just because you can be an expert in one area will mean that you be competent in another area.
2. Humility is beautiful. We are more attracted to the great who are humble, rather than to the great who want everyone to know it. Humility has not always been been beautiful. In Ancient Greece, love of honor was prized. People used to seek honor. Historically speaking, a humility revolution took place in the middle of the first century. It started with the crucifixion of Jesus. Phil 2:3-8. Our culture has been massively influenced by the cross of Christ. Greatness and humility are one because of Jesus.
3. Humility is generative. It generates new knowledge and abilities. A proud person will go away from a conference taking very little with him, while the humble person will take away more. The Scientific Revolution is because of humility, you must test and expose your science to critical examination. Humility is the place of flourishing. Humility is the fast-track to improvement.
4. Humility is persuasive. Aristotle “On Rhetoric” 1.2.4: “Character is the controlling factor of persuasion.” People are interested in you when you are interested in them. We are biased towards people who are humble. The most persuasive person is the person who has your best in mind.
5. Humility is inspiring. You can only empower someone if you want them to succeed. When leaders are aloof, we admire them, but we don’t want to be like them. When great leaders are humble, they want to spend time with us, we want to be just like them. Four tools of leadership, ability authority, character, persuasion. But the most inspiring leaders don’t have structural authority. You don’t need the keys to the kingdom to impact the kingdom.
Humility is not just another leadership technique. It is a reflection of reality. The cruciform life is a life in touch with reality.