“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” – Albert Einstein
Last week one of our clients hosted a high-profile panel on cutting-edge solutions for the healthcare industry. The moderator asked one senior executive specifically what he had done to make this prominent work a smashing success. The leader dodged the question and changed the subject.
The moderator asked a second time about his unique vision and shared her admiration for his remarkable contributions.
Again, the senior executive insisted he had nothing to do with it; the team was completely responsible for all the magic.
The moderator tried one last time to coax the senior executive to share his personal triumph in this unprecedented role, and once again, he deflected any credit and seemed exasperated with the extra attention.
Being curious about this exchange, we asked the senior executive about what was going through his mind when being asked these questions.
“The strongest quality any leader can have is humility,” he said. “I take the responsibility for what goes wrong. My team gets the credit for what goes right.”
No argument that humility can be a robust leadership strength. Yet there are times when it gets in the way, silencing people’s accomplishments and ability to influence.
What’s the cost of not voicing your value?
This leader thought he was applauding the success of his team and showcasing one of his greatest core values, humility. However, he missed the following opportunities by refusing to share his pride points.
- Learning. Although the moderator set up a powerful invitation for learning, the leader chose not to share his own personal journey of creating, launching, and leading with his unique vision which greatly affected the market. How it all transpired remained a mystery.
- Inspiration. The crowd showed great anticipation in the executive’s victory. They were hungry to applaud his efforts and celebrate with him. The mood shifted dramatically at his refusal to accept kudos and savor the success.
- Public identity. Although this leader was going for servant leadership, not owning the results and his personal role of how he made it happen made him look insecure and embarrassed. An important part of leadership is confidently accepting a compliment.
Pride point reflection:
- What are your biggest results in the last 4 weeks?
- What did you do to make that happen?
- Who else could list them?
Somewhere along the way the definition of humility got construed. Voicing your value does not make you less humble, it makes you confident and secure in who you are and what you have to offer.
As the old saying goes – no one is going to love you, if you don’t love yourself or for this example – no one is going to voice your value if you don’t.
It’s ok to be proud of your accomplishments.
And it’s vital to voice your value.