Humility Exercise

Humility is a trait of great leadership. It is defined by a sense of fairness, active compassion, and the ability to respond authentically and productively with ever-changing reality.

Humility reveals itself in self-confidence without arrogance, modesty without self-importance, and self-respect without excessive self-promotion. Humility admits mistakes, acknowledges the abilities of others, and seeks guidance for the greater good.

As leaders, we can cultivate humility by:

  • considering our own strengths, weaknesses and motives in making decisions
  • demonstrating concern for the common good, and
  • exercising our influence for the benefit of all.

Enhancing our humility has great rewards. It leads to a stronger sense of self, greater self-confidence, and richer connections with others. This process offers simple ways you can enhance your humility:


  1. Embrace humility as a trait you can develop.
  • Increase an awareness of your potential to be humble.
  • Breathe in and out with the knowledge that this trait can be strengthened in you.
  • Repeat this relaxing breath as you expand a sense of your own humility.
  1. Cultivate humility through your spoken words.
  • Use phrases like:
    • I don’t know.
    • Help me understand.
    • You’re right!
    • Thank you!
    • Great job!
  1. Change the way you view mistakes.
  • Notice feelings of failure and how your mind and body react. Acknowledge the feelings as you deepen your breath. Continue breathing regularly until you no longer resist the feelings, then calmly examine them, and accept them as normal and temporary. Feel frustration, shame and embarrassment dissipate as you continue to breathe.
  • View mistakes as opportunities to grow, teach, or deepen yourself and others.
  • Apologize sincerely when it is warranted (even in the face of internal resistance).
  1. Solicit feedback.
  • Be curious about how others are doing. Ask questions and listen when others respond.
  • Ask for feedback on your leadership. Listen with interest and an open mind.
  • Respond to the feedback with positive, timely actions.
  1. Be approachable.
  • Engage in conversation. Seek opinions, suggestions and recommendations.
  • Notice any inclination to dismiss or disregard others.
  • Smile easily and often.
  • Tell the truth with kindness and compassion.
  1. Practice, practice, practice.
  • Develop an open mindset and a relaxed body posture.
  • Become conscious of your breathing. Practice inhaling and exhaling throughout the entire trunk of your body.
  • Seek opportunities to engage positively with others.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated.