Discovering the Power of Humble Leadership

🇨🇦 Happy Canada Day! 🇨🇦

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” — Harry S. Truman

Leadership is often glamorized as the role of the bold visionary, the charismatic front-runner who drives their company to success. However, true leadership—especially the kind that transforms good companies into great ones—may look significantly different from this common portrayal.

When Darwin Smith took the reins, Kimberly-Clark was struggling against competition. However, through a series of disciplined decisions, including the bold move to sell the paper mills (ironically, the company’s historical core business), Smith pivoted the company towards consumer products. He wasn’t a figure often seen in the limelight, yet his quiet, determined style and focus on long-term goals were crucial in turning Kimberly-Clark into a leading player in its industry.

The “Humble Leader,” is characterized by a paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will. They are leaders who channel ambition into the company, not themselves. They are more like the plow horse than the show horse. This leadership style is about setting up successors for success, making sustainable decisions that ensure the company thrives beyond their tenure.

Effective leadership isn’t about being the most charismatic person in the room, but being the most impactful. It involves making tough decisions that might not pay off immediately, but will contribute to lasting success.

Action Step: Reflect on your leadership style today. Are there areas where you could lead more with humility? Consider one change you can implement this week to put your company’s success before your personal recognition.

If this approach to leadership resonates with you and you’re curious to learn more about how it can transform your business, be sure to check out our book of the week: “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.

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