What IS humility? When we speak of someone being humble, do we picture them looking, being, or acting in a certain way? Is “being humble” the same as being weak, or having a lack of self-confidence? Or, is a false premise at work there? We’ll discuss that in our Thought of the Day. And, later, in today’s interview, he began as a UPS driver and worked his way up to President of the company. Ron Wallace will share Leadership Lessons from a UPS Driver, which just happens to be the name of his new book. That and more on today’s show.
Bob’s Thought of the Day
- People generally agree that humility is one of the most worthy character traits a person can possess. However, in modern western thought, humility is a concept that is often misunderstood.
- Imagine that the humblest man in the world is knocking at your door. As you go to greet him, what do you imagine he would look like? Would he be a meek character, staring at his shoes? If he even spoke, would it be a whisper? Would he be afraid to look into your eyes? This is not humility, that’s self-loathing, or at best, just really shy.
- Many years ago I co-authored a book called GOSSIP: Ten Pathways to Eliminate It From Your Life and Transform Your Soul with Lori Palatnik. As part of the book, we looked at humility from an ancient Jewish perspective, which teaches that Moses was the humblest man who ever lived. (Please know, this is not a slight to YOUR religious tradition. I’m just using mine as an example.)
- But how could Moses be called humble since he stood up to Pharaoh? Moses spoke firmly with confidence and said, “Let G-d’s people go!” He also led the Jewish people through forty years in the desert and then to victories in war. Moses was no meek and mild man. So why is he referred to as the epitome of humility?
- It’s because humility doesn’t come from thinking, “I’m nothing.” Rather, real humility comes from knowing, “I’m something–but I know that G-d is the source of all my talents, skills, and success.”
- There are many reasons you might have success: hard work, persistence, doing what others won’t do, and other reasons. So take pleasure in your success, but don’t take pride. This is the difference between humility and arrogance.
- Arrogance says, “It’s all about me. I did it alone and didn’t need anyone’s help.” Humility says, “I took responsibility for the things I could, but also had a great deal of help along the way.” It’s hard to be humble when you think you are the sole source of your success. But it’s easy to be humble when you realize that your success is the result of a lot more than JUST you.
- Perhaps humility can best be summed up in the words of Christian Theologian and novelist, C.S. Lewis, who wrote, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself … less.”
Interview with Ron Wallace
- Leadership is about having a values-based culture. Many companies espouse values but don’t live them. UPS is a very team-driven culture and uses simple principles in a structure that everyone can understand. It always comes back to the people. UPS doesn’t have heroes and superstars; the company is built on ordinary people.
- Humble leaders accomplish the most. They must delegate and trust their people. Once a person is trained, they are given valuable equipment and resources to use in their responsibilities. UPS wants the company’s managers to think like owners. Once you have the best people around you, let them do their job.
- UPS doesn’t practice the principle, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” If it’s near-perfect, take another look at it and see how it can be improved.
- UPS very seldom uses titles; they work on a first-name basis.
- Ron shares a story of turning around Canada’s struggling UPS operations and credits the success to the team members.
- Leadership Lessons from a UPS Driver: Delivering a Culture of We, Not Me by Ron Wallace
- Follow Ron Wallace on Twitter