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The Benefits of Humble Leadership

On 28th of January 2018, Ingvar Kamprad, the Swedish billionaire and founder of the Ikea furniture chain, passed away at the age of 91. He left more than the legacy of IKEA behind, he also left his values.

What can we learn from the commonalities between Ingvar Kamprad, the legendary investor billionaire Warren Buffet and the former president of Uruguay Jose Mujica?

“Being humble isn’t the same as keeping a low profile. If you have something important to say, say it. Being humble means admitting your weaknesses, and trying to put them right.” ~ Ingvar Kamprad

Humility is a vital competency in leadership. A study that was conducted in 2015, examined 105 mostly privately held SMEs in the ICT sector in the USA, revealed that when a more humble CEO leads the company, its top management team is more likely to collaborate, share information and subscribe to the organizations’ shared vision, thus improving performance over time. In contrast to an arrogant leader who dictates decisions and often faces resistance, a humble leader is typically a better listener who values other people points of view, that inspires more openness, creativity and ability to jointly make decisions.

One interesting finding was there was more equality of pay in organizations managed by humble leaders. Fairness contributes to greater trust and harmony among teams. See below an image from the study “Do Humble CEOs Matter?” by Amy Y. Ou from NUS and David A. Waldman & Suzanne J. Peterson from Arizona State University.

Read the full article and watch a short and inspiring video on the life Ingvar Kampradof being humble with a sense of humor, on my blog: The Benefits of Humble Leadership

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