While magnanimity is not a well-worn word in most people’s vocabulary, humility is well-worn and understood for the most part. Magnanimity and humility are the two virtues or habits specific to leadership.

My observation, starting with myself, is that while well-worn, it is hard to practice humility effectively.

Almost by reflex, we tend to mishandle humility in the following ways:

Clumsy humility – we may have worked for 10 hours helping someone prepare a presentation and when the other person thanks us, we literally wave it off and say ‘no problem’. Instead, simply say ‘you’re welcome’. It keeps our dignity and value intact.

False humility – humility with ulterior motives. Volunteering once a year at a shelter or speaking once on servant leadership is generally not seen as genuine. The reason (fair or not) is this type of humility creates a perceived lack of character because you are not characterized as humble (doing these things on a more regular basis). You build character by practicing virtues or habits. Humility is a virtue worth practicing until you are characterized by it.

What it is

Humility is the practice of bringing out the greatness in others… It is the thirst to love and sacrifice for others.

What it is not

Humility is not the basis for your actions. It is the basis for your existence. There’s a big difference.


Consciously or not, the hearts of all people experience a thirst to live (magnanimously) and love (humbly). Practicing the habits of magnanimity and humility are the essential elements of quenching that thirst and realizing personal fulfillment or satisfaction.

How do you practice humility to solve an issue?

Complacency, especially when good companies experience record-breaking success is hard to avert. If you can show some humility and invest in your folk’s with your time and resources and then challenge them, you’ll get a different result than what you’ve experienced up to now because of the reasons mentioned previously.

Humility is the perfect virtue or habit to practice to lead your team higher when things are going well…

I’ll tie magnanimity and humility together in theory and practice in the next post.

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