Humility… A modest view of one’s own importance for the benefit of a greater purpose
In an age where power is being questioned from across economic, educational, political and social spheres and where there have been numerous studies, articles and books written about leadership, humility is a leadership characteristic that doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves. And yet increasingly, humility is considered a much more powerful way of leading in the 21st century.
Our recent client experiences suggest that a humble leadership approach, that relies on listening, transparency, collaboration and appreciation of the strengths and contributions of others, is actually a much more effective way of gaining followership and also provides a competitive advantage in business. When leaders are humble at their core, they are naturally able to adopt a much more holistic and integrated way of leading and that leads to better insights.
It has also been said that humility is part of one’s journey to a higher life’s purpose. One such leader who has embarked upon this journey is Kimberly Baxter McLain. Kim is currently the President and CEO of the Foundation for Newark’s Future. Kim is a passionate, values-based leader and a catalyst for change. Kim’s platform is in empowering youth from underserved communities to thrive in all areas of their lives. In a recent interview, Kim was quoted as saying “As leaders, it is our responsibility to invest in the future of our society. We must collectively wrap our arms around our children and ensure that they receive the education, resources, mentorship and opportunities they need and deserve”.
When asked specifically about her view on humility, here is what she had to say, “Humility has always been a given with me, not a value to be practiced per se. I know that my success, my experiences, my very being is but for the grace of God. There is nothing in my background that guarantees my presence here today. In fact, my circumstances would suggest otherwise to many. But I’ve never been defined by limitations, I’ve been inspired by the possibilities. With faith, I’ve come this far and by faith I will carry forward. That level of awareness makes anything but humility an impossibility.”
True to her word, Kim is “leaning in” to create those very opportunities in her community and is serving as a role model for next generation diverse leaders by engaging others in the dialogue and call to action. Kim is also creating change through her active Board Membership on several non-profit organizations including the Metropolitan Baptist Church and the BRICK Academy in Newark, New Jersey.
How are you “leaning in” to drive positive change?
Kimberly Baxter McLain
Chief Executive Officer, Non-Profit Executive, Philanthropy Leader, Change Agent