Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman did a study for the Harvard Business Review that looked at two different types of leaders: those who underrate themselves and those who overrate themselves. Leaders who overrate themselves tend to be more confident in their abilities and more aggressive in business. Meanwhile, the underrating leaders are more reserved and attentive to employees’ needs.
Of course, every leader has a unique style, but is one better than the other?
The study found that the leaders who overrated themselves have a higher probability of flaws and a lower probability of strengths. The opposite is true of the leaders who underrate themselves. In fact, the fewer skills leaders overrated themselves on, the more effective they were overall.
This brings to my mind one word: humility. Leaders who are thinking of themselves less possess this essential leadership trait. Executives who demonstrate humility tend to be better listeners and communicators. They don’t think they have all the answers all the time. And they recognize the needs of others.
Humility might not be the end all be all of leadership, but I find it one of the core traits to effective leadership. I know I personally am more likely to trust a humble leader over an arrogant one.
What core trait do you find essential to your leadership? And what makes it essential? Share your thoughts below.