I was listening to a podcast profiling Naomi Harris when her former drama school teacher, Anna Scher, mentioned that Naomi was a great talent because she demonstrated the three “hum’s”, humanity, humility and humour. I loved the list because it is also applicable to leadership. So here are the three “hum’s” and why they are so useful to being a good leader.
Demonstrating humanity means showing empathy, treating others with respect and being compassionate.
Those are such important attributes in a leader. By understanding that people are not machines, that they need to be inspired, that they can have bad days, that they can make mistakes, a leader creates an environment of trust in the group. By communicating on a personal and human level, a leader shows they care, they understand and that means that their followers will start to go that extra mile for them.
So many leaders struggle under the false assumption that they have to know everything and that they must never make mistakes. As a leader, your role is to make decisions based on the input of your team. Your team do the work, they provide you with data and you make decisions. As a leader, it is fair and reasonable not to know everything, it is also permissiable to make mistakes … and admit them.
If you always try to project a veneer of invulnerability, you will alienate those around you, not impress them. Humility allows people to engage with you and trust your judgement.
I don’t trust someone who does not have a sense of humour. That ability to find humour in adversity or to laugh at themselves is another element in how we, as humans, build trust. A leader does not have to be a stand-up comedian, they just have to have that ability to laugh – nothing dissipates tension and builds a strong team bond quicker than laughter.
Have a think about how your team would rate you humanity, humility and humour. If you can tick those three boxes, you may well be on the way to becoming a great leader.