Humility is necessary for a leader to get to the top and stay there. The book of Genesis, in the Old Testament, recounts a pharaoh who was awakened by a recurring nightmare. As a intuitive leader he recognized that something strange was happening. As a self-aware leader he acknowledged his unease with the dreams, but as a humble leader he sought the help of others to gain understanding.
Enter Joseph, an interpreter of dreams. Joseph gave a perfect interpretation of the pharaoh’s nightmare. Joseph predicted that Pharaoh was about to face one of his biggest leadership challenges to date. There was going to be 7 years of famine, but before this time of calamity there was going to be 7 years of huge harvests. Joseph, recommended that he store up the surplus crops for the upcoming years of famine.
Can you imagine the pharaoh contemplating what he should do? Should he believe the “prisoner-slave,” Joseph? He couldn’t deny the dream or the astuteness of Joseph’s interpretation. The pharaoh must of sensed his kingdom hung in the balance. What did he do?
He had to dig down deep into his reserves of humility and chose to instate a slave to oversee the project. This took insane amounts of humility: to enlist the advice of others (especially, from a foreign prisoner-slave), then delegate that responsibility and back Joseph up with the necessary resources to accomplish the task. This took some major humble-hutzpah!
The humble leader looks for capable individuals and seeks out their advice. They are not concerned about appearing to be the smartest person in the room. They understand that they don’t know everything and go with the best idea presented (even if they — the leader — didn’t think of it).
Pharaoh gave Joseph the opportunity to lead this project and it unfolded exactly as Joseph predicted. There was 7 years of plenty, followed by 7 years of famine.
Had Pharaoh been arrogant or intimidated by Joseph, millions would have starved. Conversely, Pharaoh heeded the advice of a foreigner, empowered Joseph to act — and sealed his own legacy as a world-class leader.
As the pharaoh discovered, humility will help you get to the top and stay there.
Pharaoh 1.) sought advice, 2.) empowered Joseph and 3.) effectively delegated to him. This humble course, made him the most powerful, wealthy and influential man on the earth at that time. Which of the three, aforementioned, areas do you need to incorporate into your leadership?
1.) Seek Advice from your team and others
2.) Empower and equip your team with proper authority
3.) Delegate tasks to other well qualified leaders on your team
Pick one area you need to grow in and implement it this week!
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