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Fire Chief Lesson: Humility Means You are Not the Focus

The best answers to a problem often lie in the people responsible to do the work. - Chief (Retired) Randy Bruegman

President Harry Truman once said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” We live in a time when so many leaders are more focused on the title that they hold or how many followers, likes or hits they get on their social media accounts, than they are on the people they are responsible for leading.

I have learned that the best leaders are selfless and more concerned with the well-being of their team than with their personal titles. You cannot be an effective leader if you feel that you are better than the people you are leading. The best leaders I have worked for understood that the best answers to a problem often lie in the people that are responsible to do the work. Those leaders were focused on building a cultural competence within their team(s) to bring together a diverse set of talents and perspectives to be successful.

In his book From Good to Great, Jim Collins noted the two characteristics separating the best from the rest, was the combination of Humility partnered with a tenacity to always do what is right for the organization. If you are in a leadership position and you want to pay it forward and leave it better than you found it, start by leading with Humility.

In his book, Becoming a Leader of Character, Dave Anderson defines Humility as:

Believing and acting like “It’s not about me.”