Being humble — more than anything else — is the difference between being a good leader and a not so good leader.

By Steve Moran

A few weeks ago in our Senior Living Professional Facebook Group (something you should join in the next couple of weeks before we shut down open enrollment for a few months), Denise Scott posted something about humility or pride and my immediate thought was I am actually pretty good at this humility thing.

And then I came face to face with ME!

Maybe Not So Humble

I love my job and one of the coolest parts of the job is that I know bunches of great leaders in the senior living space and mostly they like me, so that when I want to talk to one I just pick of the phone and either reach them or leave a message and I hear back in a day or two.   

And it is not just in senior living, I have a bunch of really great relationships with a number of leaders outside our industry.  

A few weeks ago it dawned on me that there was a leader (nope, not going to tell you who) I had met a few times but never really interacted with; someone who is doing some interesting things that I wanted to get to know better . . . arrogantly thinking, Who doesn’t want to get better acquainted with Steve Moran?

I sent this person an email to see if we could chat.  

I got no response for a couple days, which sometimes happens with email, and kinda wondered, but didn’t think too much more about it. Then I got an email from someone else in a different part of the organization saying “. . . [nameless leader] is too busy to meet or talk to you, but can I help you with something?”   

My first reaction was How dare that #*^+%*@!

Foolish Thinking

I think this leader was wrong in not being interested in having a conversation with me. I think this person would like chatting with me and I think it would present opportunities to highlight the cool things they are doing, which, at the very least, would help with recruitment and retention. And, while I would never ever be vindictive as a writer, going out of my way to do damage, going forward, I will be very reluctant to do positive stories about the organization.

And yet, as I put my humility hat on there are some other things I need to think about:

  • This person may have had a very bad day when forwarding my email to a staffer.

  • This person may have been burned by another writer or another publication.

  • This person might have meant to only say, I don’t have any time immediately rather than forever, which is what it sounded like.

And of course, this person, in fact, may think I am a jerk and that I should never write about any industry problems; by doing so I am hurting the industry. And finally, maybe this person is not worth the effort.

Why Am I Publishing This?

Over and over again I am impressed by how important humility is and that being humble, more than anything else, is the difference between being a good leader and a not so good leader. It means being willing to be wrong, to admit being wrong, and to hear criticism. It means being willing to not be insulted. More than anything it means being willing to have a generous spirit towards others.  

It is about not holding grudges, it is about recognizing that almost everyone is doing the best they can. More than anything else it is about realizing that the more important you are, the harder it is and the more important it is to be humble.  

It is about being humble enough to be embarrassed when you miss the humility mark, like I am. The embarrassed part. I am thinking I am still missing the humble part.