Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Turning Leadership Ego on its Head

Leadership often draws individuals with narcissistic and pride-filled attitudes. How do leaders cultivate humility? More than 1400 years ago St. Benedict of Nursia defined a progressive twelve steps of humility in his famous rule, that sets the tone for redemptive organizations and leadership humility. The twelve steps can be summarized in the following ways (Galbraith and Gailbraith, 2004:121-122):

  1. Revere the Simple Rules

  2. Reject your Personal Desires

  3. Obey Others

  4. Endure Affliction

  5. Confess Your Weaknesses

  6. Practice Contentment

  7. Learn Self Reproach

  8. Obey the Common Rule

  9. Understand that Silence is Golden

  10. Meditate on Humility

  11. Speak Simply

  12. Act Humbly In Appearance

"Brethren, the Holy Scripture cries to us saying: 'Every one that exalts himself shall be humbled; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.' The first degree of humility, then, is that a man always have the fear of God before his eyes shunning all forgetfulness and that he be ever mindful of all that God hath commanded…". - St. Benedict of Nursia

Source: Galbraith, C. S. and Galbraith, O. (2004). “The Benedictine Rule of Leadership”. Avon: Avons Media.