Three Steps to Refocus the “Why” of Your LeadershipPublished July 21, 2016
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.
Humility is a quality many leaders desire to possess, but it is often an illusive yet beautiful idea that sounds great on paper, yet seems mysteriously out of reach to anyone attempting to find it.
Humility is not a trait like integrity or honesty that can be achieved or gained. Rather, humility is better described as:
1) A lack of pride.
2) A lack of focus on oneself.
How do we, as leaders, achieve something that is not achievable? How do we gain something that is simply the lack of something else?
Perhaps, humility is not something to be found through checklists or charts.
Perhaps, humility is the result of leaders who focus so fully on something other than themselves that they no longer think of themselves. Instead, their focus is on something bigger, something greater than their own name. This is what drives a truly humble leader.
Often, in my interactions with young leaders, I observe people who attempt to attain humility by working harder or putting themselves down. They may downplay their own abilities, refuse recognition, or avoid appreciation.
But these actions do not lead to humility. Instead, they often lead to a facade of humility that leaves the leaders’ team scratching their heads, wondering if their leaders believe in themselves at all.
The secret to humility does not lie in a leader “trying” to be humble. Rather, a leader can move toward humility only when they are laser focused on the “why” of their leadership. Whether in your organization, your family, or your church, the key to achieving humility is to be unashamedly focused on “why” you were called to leadership in the first place.
Your “why” is your calling, your purpose, or your motivation.
Your “why” is the calling you felt from God to start your church to reach the lost and spread the Gospel. Your “why” is the burden you felt to fight injustice when you launched your nonprofit. Your “why” is the product you so fully believed would make people’s lives better when you began your business. Your “why” is the love you wanted to pour into the next generation when you started your family.
Every great leader has a powerful and compelling “why” behind their leadership. When a leader is laser focused on their “why,” everything else fades into the background. A humble leader is one who would sacrifice everything, including their own pride, in order to see their “why” become a reality.
Here are three steps you can take to refocus on the “why” of your leadership.
1) Ask the question: “What is the ‘why’ behind my call to leadership?”
2) Determine if your leadership over the past six months has focused more on your own success or on the furthering of your “why.”
3) Set aside a portion of your time each week where you can unapologetically focus solely on your “why.”
Humility is not something to be found, but rather a posture of looking outside of ourselves and fixing our eyes on the One who called us to leadership in the first place. Let us dwell on our calling and our “why” and take a step toward leading our organizations, our churches and our families with true, authentic humility.
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About the Author
Hannah Gronowski is the Founder and CEO of Generation Distinct , a nonprofit that exists to empower young leaders to discover the wrong they were born to make right, leading them to experience who Jesus really is. She has a passion to use her voice to empower others to become leaders God can use to create real change in the world. She is also a speaker and an author, with her first book releasing in 2020 with NavPress Publishers. She has spoken at conferences, churches, college campuses, and youth events around the country.