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3 Ways Humility Can Undermine Your Leadership

Humble leadership is characterized by a willingness to admit a mistake or when you don’t know something, a tendency to share credit for successes, and an appreciation for others’ contributions. This leadership style is built on self-awareness, respect for others, and a focus on collective over individual success. But being overly humble can potentially diminish your perceived authority in three ways: 1) You may be perceived as indecisive; 2) You may hinder your career advancement; and 3) You may be limiting your team’s development. The author offers advice on how to navigate these challenges while preserving the benefits of this leadership style.

Sunil, a seasoned executive at a leading tech firm, was known for his humility. He rarely took credit for his achievements, preferring to share praise with his team, and he would always seek consensus before making decisions. While his approach fostered a positive team environment, it also led to perceptions of indecisiveness, especially during critical decision-making moments. This came to a head when a delay, caused by his hesitancy to act without full consensus, cost the company a lucrative market opportunity. It was a turning point for Sunil, highlighting a complex truth: Humility, while a virtue, can sometimes be a double-edged sword in leadership.

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