“Being your own boss”, “Do whatever you want to do”, “Work whenever you want to”; these are some usual phrases that I always heard when people said they wanted to be leaders in the innovative world and entrepreneurs.
Sadly, all of those are far from the truth. You don’t get to do any of that. Take any aspect of your life where your job is to rally people to believe in your cause. It could be trying to get someone you love to stay, it could be convincing a genius coder to work for your fledgling startup, it could be anything that involves you trying to talk to other people. The only thing that matters, and has always mattered is humility
1. In the startup world –
I’m a recovering ego addict. So, I know what it feels like when you try to put down someone else with your words just because you have authority. You need people more than they need you. Your primary job is to be a leader. Being a leader will not get you a good life; in fact, it involves you making a lot of sacrifices. Most of the time, you sacrifice your ego.
Think of Captain America, the leader of the Avengers who releases the Hulk at his enemies. Humility must become an inherent trait in you to even start being a leader. Ofcourse, being a leader also means having vision, skills, and all the other things; but humility beats all of that. The minute you start showing humility and try to rally skilled people, you will see the difference.
2. In everything else –
There are times when you might get really mad at someone, there will be times when you could never be more annoyed. Your initial instinct would be to snap at them, yell and swear. You are so annoyed that you want to show people that, as if that’s going to achieve something. The only thing that you’ll achieve is show people how unqualified you are as a leader and lose your charisma in a second.
Humility teaches you to be more patient. It tells you that other people make mistakes too and it makes you more tolerant to them. Once all this happens, you instantly become more likable because other people perceive all these changes in you. I once snapped at a friend without realizing what would happen. He’s not in my life anymore. I snapped at a lot of people. None of them are here now. I’d be stupid if I didn’t learn what had happened. Now, people stick around because I exhibit humility to a certain extent.
Humility isn’t as bad as it sounds. It makes you a wonderful person, a likable person, a trustworthy person. All of the traits that are required to be a good leader across all fields.
The other example that comes to my mind is Elon Musk. He’s definitely smart. He has also rallied a number of intelligent people; far more intelligent than him to believe in his mission. SpaceX and Tesla are standing examples. He might be stern, but you can see humility in him as clear as day.