Humble Leaders Foster Belongingness and Inclusivity

by | Jun 1, 2024 | Leadership, Organizational Development, Workplace Culture | 0 comments

The Transformative Power of Level 5 Leadership to Create Inclusive and High-Performing Teams

The most effective leaders in my career have communicated a vision, had a plan, embraced the mission, and recognized the team’s work above their own contribution. These became some of my favorite places to work, and I still maintain some of these relationships after many years. I certainly have not forgotten the way they made me feel.

Conversely, I recall several bosses who made themselves the center of attention. One, in particular, insisted his assistant write a memo to the whole organization announcing his accomplishments and his influence on anyone else’s contributions. He became agitated when he did not receive praise at industry events or when he couldn’t get the best seat in the house or an award. Few employees received recognition, and none received positive, helpful, or supportive feedback during performance reviews. Those who disagreed with him or failed to laud his track record received the boot fairly quickly.

Cartoon and Video

With Cicadageddon in the Chicago area, I offer this silly cartoon on noisy and oh-so-not-humble leadership:

The Benefits of Humble Leadership

This anecdotal evidence aligns with research findings highlighting humble leadership’s benefits. A meta-analysis of 212 studies found that humble leadership is most strongly associated with followers’ satisfaction with the leader and the leaders’ participative decision-making (Chandler et al., 2023). Humble leaders focus on the collective success of their teams rather than seeking personal accolades. They listen to their employees, value diverse perspectives, and create an atmosphere where everyone feels included and respected.

Fostering a Supportive and Inclusive Work Environment

Research further supports that humility from leadership promotes positive outcomes for organizations by fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment (Randel et al., 2018). Humble leaders emphasize the importance of team collaboration and the sharing of credit. This approach encourages team members to contribute their best efforts, knowing that their contributions will be recognized and valued.

Improving Team Performance through Humility

Leveraging leadership to foster respect for others, collaboration, continuous learning, and a customer-centric approach with humility promotes agility within organizations. This improves team performance, which has the following three attributes: (a) they deliver on goals at a high level of competence, (b) they become increasingly capable over time, and (c) they continually learn and mature in their abilities. These teams are better equipped to adapt to changing circumstances and innovate in response to new challenges.

Jim Collins and the Level 5 Executive

In our most recent episode of The Harmonious Workplaces Podcast, we discussed transactional and transformational leadership types, and we mentioned Level 5 Leadership.

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins discusses the Level 5 Executive who builds enduring greatness through a strong and tenacious professional will and personal humility. These leaders are not driven by ego but by a desire to achieve the best outcomes for their organization and their people. They prioritize their teams’ success and their organizations’ long-term health over short-term personal gains.

Creating Harmonious Workplaces through Humble Leadership

Strong leaders who operate humbly can create more harmonious workplaces. They inspire trust and loyalty, encourage innovation, and drive sustained success. By valuing and uplifting their teams, humble leaders not only enhance individual performance but also cultivate a culture of belonging and inclusivity that benefits the entire organization. This approach not only leads to better performance and higher satisfaction among team members but also contributes to a more positive organizational climate where everyone feels valued and included.

Contact WorkBalance Consulting for more information on creating a harmonious workplace.


Baran, B.E., & Bible, S.C. (2019). Agility and Agile: An Introduction for People, Teams, and Organizations. Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP).

Chandler, J.A., Johnson, N.E., Jordan, S.L., B, D.K., & Short J.C. (2023). A meta-analysis of humble leadership: Reviewing individual, team, and organizational outcomes of leader humility. The Leadership Quarterly, 34(1).

Collins, J. (2001). Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t. HarperBusiness.

Randel, A.E., Galvin, B.M., Shore, L.M., Holcombe Ehrhart, K., Chung, B.G., Dean, M.A., & Kedharnath, U. (2018). Inclusive leadership: Realizing positive outcomes through belongingness and being valued for uniqueness. Human Resource Management Review, 28(190-203).

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