Secret of Smart Leadership

The Secret of Smart Leadership

Synopsis from an article ‘Is this the Secret of Smart Leadership’ from BBC Worklife by David Robson, Published 1st June 2020

In this article David Robson argues that humility is the greatest of all virtues and that recent research identified that people with greater humility are often better learners, decision makers and problem solvers.

The latest findings suggest that the trait is especially important for leaders, with evidence that displays of humility can improve strategic thinking and boost the performance of colleagues across an organisation.

You need confidence to be humble
a study by Organisational Psychologist Bradley Owens identified that intellectual humility can boost learning and many other measures of successful thinking.

The ability for greater reflection tends to lead to being less susceptible to cognitive bias and misinformation, which suggests that humility could influence and have a positive effect on decision making.

Avoiding Group Think
The research shows that “a leaders humility can also have important knock-on effects for their team members”. This is due to the leaders humility improving communication among team members, empowering them to disagree with potentially flawed decisions.

“The leader is willing to admit their own limits should encourage the team members to admit their own flaws – all of which should create a more honest and constructive workplace.

Better collaboration and information sharing comes from a shared confidence that comes from it being ok to make a mistake or to be wrong. A study in Hong Kong by Amy Yi Ou found that humber CEO’s encouraged greater collaboration and information sharing amongst the management team.

Questioning Questions
Leaders who ask questions are more likely to be trusted, with people appreciating the leaders genuine desire for more information.

David Robson is a science writer and author of The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes, which examines the psychology of our most common thinking errors and the ways to make wiser decisions. He is @d_a_robson on Twitter.

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