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Good morning dear reader & welcome to my world for another week. As I prepare this note for you today prior to having the next 2~3 weeks away on leave, I do so with some misgiving & ongoing frustration(s) with how I see the developments of both society & particularly leadership in many areas.

I have a growing awareness of how much pride has been and is in my life. It has been a constant companion for more than forty five years. I am well acquainted with the dark side of leadership.

Not long ago I read through the short by Andrew Murray called Humility. In processing his writing, I was struck by two contrasting realities. First I was reminded how prevalent humility can be in the success of a leader.

Second, I was surprised by how little we practice humility today. When is the last time you read a blog, sat in a conference session, or did an even small study on humility?
Murray says, “If humility is becoming a secret, then the health & strength of our soul will suffer.” He does not say anything about the size of your organization or breadth of your influence. He does say the “health and strength” of your life is tied to a spirit of humility.

Maturing as a leader comes with some hard but rich lessons. One of those is to learn real joy & comes not in promoting self but conversely promotion of others. And, the real satisfaction for this comes in being nothing so our people may be everything.

Those of us with leadership gifts have an advantage. We see things before other people. We can size up situation more quickly than others. We often are quickest to figure out what needs to be done. We have an advantage. But humble leaders do not take advantage of their advantage. They do not manipulate; they do not self-promote.

We need more heroes who show a modest or low estimate of their own importance.” There is a subtle but inherent danger for leaders which impacts our humility. We have been given a gift to inspire people. People respond, & things get done, & people follow “you.” This can mess with both your head & your heart. We can begin to think it is because of us & about us.

We can obsess with success & forget, what draws a crowd is someone who cares just as much about the means as he does the ends. We do not mean for it to happen, but we become disoriented.

The more fruitfulness & success we experience, the greater the temptation. Your success & the praise which follows will be a test of your humility. Jim Collins’ research validates this truth. In How the Mighty Fall, he identifies the first stage of decline as “hubris born of success.”

Stage 1 kicks in when people become arrogant, regarding success virtually as an entitlement, & they lose sight of the true underlying factors which created success in the first place. Those words ring true for all leaders as much as CEOs of corporations.

I would like to leave you this week with the following thought ~ “No matter how good you think you are as a leader, my goodness, the people around you will have all kinds of ideas for how you can get better. So for me, the most fundamental thing about leadership is to have the humility to continue to get feedback & to try to get better ~ because your job is to help everybody else get better.” [1]

Thank you for taking the time to be with me once again. I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes for the weekend ahead. I look forward to being with you all again in two to three weeks’ time as I am looking forward to some time out for recuperation & relaxation, hopefully.

[1] Jim Yong Kim

Kenn Butler
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