How Do You Measure Humility?


Whenever I interview really senior people in large organisations I am generally struck by their humility.  Indeed the more successful the individual generally the more humility they will have, but how could those behaviours be emulated by everyone?

Why humility?

Success is never individual, so those who are successful have always done so with the help of others. One could argue that to a certain extent it is the ability to accept help and support from others which differentiates a winner from a nearly ran.  If someone is humble more people want to help, there is an openness which allows the best type of assistance.  I also see that humility appears to act as a filter for those who deploy it; taking out the unhelpful advice and tuning in to the best available.

Success measures are about the greater good not the ego

Truly successful people and leaders realise that if everyone succeeds then so do they. The only way to achieve this in larger and complex organisations is to have success measures which reflect the wider and bigger aspirations of the organisation.  These may not always make the leader look good, they are not command and control measures and so need a trust model to enable them to operate effectively. Ultimately they will make everyone look and feel good, including customers, stakeholders and the team.

Sharing comes as standard 

I am a researcher so rely on people to share their ideas and thoughts with me.  What I find is that it is the most successful people who are the very best at sharing.  They have a natural affinity with passing on information and being happy to debate points, however difficult or at times painful.  They don’t spend a long time dwelling on theirs or their organisation’s success but focus on the future, the bumps in the road, their learning experiences and issues.  This type of honest sharing is vital for success and creates more success because effectively what they are doing is mentoring others on how to move forward.

So how do you measure humility to ensure it is a core part of your organisation?

It is not that hard actually, in fact it is much easier than some of the things organisations try to measure at the moment.  Key to getting it right is to understand what humility might look like in your organisation.  For us at Halo we know it is about being honest, doing what we say we are going to do, giving credit to everyone in the team, having spot on knowledge about our subject and being positive and optimistic.  Once you understand what your core purpose and key ways of operating are, and can articulate it, measuring it is straightforward.

Firstly, focus on the big picture for your customer, they are not interested in recommending you, so avoid questions which compare yourselves to your competitors and asking the customer who they like best.  Secondly, ask about the core purpose and key way of operating, so if skill is key, ask whether they think your people are skilled and competent in their jobs.  Finally, only ask one open ended question and make it really open, give them the chance to share what they think about any aspect of your organisation.

At Halo we specialise in helping successful organisations and people become more even more successful so if you would like help measuring your performance then do contact us on 44 (0) 1276 477445.