Updated 6 23, 2021 Can leaders be strong and humble at the same time? Is it possible for a leader to command respect if he or she seeks help from others? For many years, asking for help was considered a sign of weakness. Leaders were expected to know everything and be capable of doing anything. If a leader had to ask for help, then most likely he or she was not qualified to lead. However, the world has changed, and leadership is not viewed in the same ways as in the past. Organizations, leaders, and employees alike all recognize that the accepted standards for “good leadership” have changed. Asking for help is not a sign of weak leadership.
LEADERS ARE HUMAN TOO
No longer are leaders expected to be super-human. It’s okay to fail or to not have all the answers and to ask for help when needed. Good leaders know that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength. In fact, when leaders won’t admit and accept their weaknesses, that lack of humility actually becomes an obstacle which hinders progress and success. If a leader thinks he or she can do something when they actually can’t, they end up hurting the organization much more. That is why having humility in leadership is so important.
HUMILITY IS THE KEY
When leaders are not humble enough to accept their weaknesses, they will not be able to connect with those they lead. Connecting with employees is huge in the current business world because if employees are not feeling engaged and connected with their leaders, they’ll have a much harder time respecting or following them. This creates and environment where likely no one will succeed. As Peter Bregman pointed out in his leadership article for Harvard Business Review, “Struggles do not define us; you are not weak; you have weaknesses. There is a difference” Weaknesses do not make us weak, they simply mean we are human.
ACCEPTING WEAKNESSES HELPS BUILD STRENGTHS
By learning to ask others for help, leaders can grow and learn like everyone else. When leaders ask for help, they become more relatable, and demonstrate they don’t think they’re better than their employees. When leaders share their vulnerabilities and ask for help to overcome them, they can gain new perspective. This allows them to grow and develop new strengths. And that helps them become better leaders, which in turn, helps the organizations they work for.
IT’S OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP
If we want to become better leaders, we need to show humility by accepting we are human and have weaknesses that go along with our strengths. When we don’t know the answer to something, we can ping someone who might. When we’re not sure how to do something, we can seek advice. When we need help, we can ask for it. Every leader needs helps from time to time. Those who are humble enough to ask for help are more likely to be good leaders. Because, quoting Peter Bregman again, “People feel good when they help. They are inspired when they are needed. They don’t think less of the people they help, they feel more connected.”
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