Today's Reading

The model is comprehensive and actionable. I believe that when leaders read this, they will be compelled to try the keys described. Then they will see positive results and further develop their leadership humility. This will generate continuous leadership improvement, effectiveness, and happiness— for the leader and all of the stakeholders. We need and want the hearts and minds of everyone to move forward together.

In addition to the model of leader humility, part of what makes this book so valuable are the experiences, observations, and advice offered from the CEOs that Marilyn interviewed. These are great and successful leaders of great organizations. The leaders are diverse and inspirational, and they lead with humility. They are very special leaders who focus on the greater good.

Marilyn has captured a vital enabling element of the leader of the future—humility! This book explains just why this is so important. Equally important, it shows us how to do it. Appreciating and improving leader humility is a great opportunity to enhance our leadership service. It is essential so that we can engage everyone's hearts and minds and work together to move us forward positively in our rapidly changing world.

Alan Mulally
Former president and CEO, Ford Motor Company;
former president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes;
former president, Boeing Information, Space and Defense Systems


PREFACE

Seattle has spawned many organizations with global impact whose success and innovation have changed the way we live and work. The city thrives on energies from Amazon, Boeing, Costco, Microsoft, Starbucks, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to name only a few. It is in this rich climate that I have been fortunate to lead business executive programs at two universities for the past two decades. This gave me the opportunity to work with a number of CEOs who are brilliant leaders. I have been inspired by their commitment to leading well and privileged to see the positive effects they have on followers and organizational outcomes. I have also seen the negative effects caused by many other leaders—and I have made and learned from mistakes of my own.

Over time, it became clear to me that there is one variable at the heart of leadership that is far too often overlooked. That variable is humility. It guides a leader's behaviors by placing central importance on the fact that others' dignity matters. This book shines a light on this underrecognized subject. It explains why leader humility is so needed—and it shows how leaders can improve performance by knowing and using the six keys to leader humility that others monitor very closely. This is not merely my opinion. There is sound research on the value of humility in leadership. And there are great leaders who prove that humility works.

It is timely and urgent that we talk about this topic. Events on our world stage highlight issues of character and behavior among leaders as they grapple with very complex problems. In the United States and abroad, many people are appalled by the arrogance and lack of integrity we see at the highest levels of government. Nearly all feel dismayed by our leaders' collective dysfunction as we face global challenges like a viral pandemic, trade, immigration, climate change, and information accuracy. Most people want a better approach to leadership.

The need for better business leadership is equally urgent. Businesses face many complex challenges: volatile economies, technological change, global markets for trade and labor, cybersecurity, impacts of climate change, and a younger generation that is jaded from past corporate misdeeds and adept at using social media to expose missteps. Business executives need to engage well with employees, customers, shareholders, community activists, and regulators who often have strong and conflicting views. In order to succeed, leaders must be able to bring divergent groups together and forge consensus on a path forward. Power plays, personal attacks, and harsh elbows work entirely against this. And without leadership that can align these stakeholders, businesses can't generate profits, sustain growth, support diversity, innovate, or contribute positively to the needs of society.

Fundamentally, leadership requires working together. We need leaders who can do this well to resolve our global and domestic challenges, whether in business, nonprofits, or government. And leader humility—a tendency to feel and display deep regard for others' dignity—is essential for working together well with all stakeholders.
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