Humility, Culture, and Leadership


Interest HBR article has been making the rounds (started with @Paul_Elia irrc) :

  • Research: When Being a Humble Leader Backfires
  • On teams that value hierarchy, humility can look like weakness.

Have a read, and then let’s discuss… how do various cultures and contexts come into play

Potential Podcast topic?

@bradstokes / @Scrummando


Sure, I would join. Not enough for a podcast in my view, though, but we could reference it in a larger podcast about management/leadership, one of our core show topics that we haven’t visited in a while.


Oh there’s a show in there. I be curious to see what this looks like at a software company vs a mega bank/insurance company. I am also curious about what this looks like in a country like India.

It has been interesting to see leaders frustrated by a lack of creativity from their teams when asked for ideas. These employees have spent years in a heavy top down leadership that has them in a state of Learned helplessness.

I work in an org were the employees want decentralized decision making, trust, and long list of other things.

In May I am embarking on a leadership program to try to accomplish some of these outcome. I am tossing. Intent based Leadership, Servant Leadership, First Team, Mgt. 3.0 in to a blender and going to give it a go.

Can’t wait to learn from this mess.


Another fascinating thing to explore is the east vs west paradigm. Where face, honour and culture are very important, how does humbleness fit in, especially as generally the outsider might be in an outgroup?


I wish we had the ability with the coalition membership base to see demographics. East / west. I’m wondering if we are skewed one way or the other.


Heck even East vs West in the states. Working with locations on both ends of the country has proven to be very interesting. I have to have a different strategy for each location and coast.

Growth through acquisition might have something to do with it too though.


Well it is interesting though. I remember seeing a study that showed that some highly hierarchical cultures were sometimes better at collaboration than more egalitarian cultures. I’ll have to dig out the research.