An article by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman said that leaders who underrated their leader skills typically performed better and had more engaged teams.
These days, there is quite a premium placed on leaders being “self-aware”. So it would seem leaders who underrate themselves actually were lacking self-awareness. But, Zenger and Folkman say that isn’t necessarily so.
They suggest leaders who rate themselves lower probably have a virtuous combination of humility, high personal standards, and a continual striving to be better.
In other words, as soon as you think you’ve mastered leadership and stop trying to improve, you may well be heading to a season where your effectiveness slips.
That’s always the challenge of building and maintaining a team. The more success you have, the more you expect to continue to achieve. But, in having that high expectation, you can forget the hard work and effort it took to achieve.
Humility keeps you on edge. It’s a character trait that reminds you that achievements aren’t all about you. There was hard work. Favorable breaks.
Good luck. Coincidence. Hard work helped you have that good fortune. Only hard work will help you again.
High personal standards keeps you consistent. Having great habits contributes to reinforcing high standards. Maintaining those habits reinforces the idea that hard work trumps talent.
So, you have continual striving. You understand you can always get better. You study. You pay attention. You are committed to finding more nuggets.
In summary, no one likes a cocky leader. Being hungry for improvement, conservative in your self-assessment, and dedicated to the habits that fuel your effectiveness will contribute to long term success and effectiveness.
PalletOne CEO Howe Wallace
Since 2005, he has been sharing his thoughts on the organization, leadership, and communication in an online daily note to teammates called Daily with HQ.