Reading John Dickson: Humility and Leadership

A few weeks ago my daughter Beth alerted me to a Radio National program she had heard.

Richard Aedy interviewed John Dickson on Life Matters.

I followed Beth’s advice to listen to their discussion of humility. As a result I bought John Dickson‘s book Humiltas.

The subtitle to the book is A Lost Key to Life, Love and Leadership.

In it John suggests that “the most influential and inspiring people are often marked by humility”. He defines humility as “the noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself”.

John identifies leadership as “the art of inspiring others in a team to contribute their best to a goal”. Leaders have:

  • Ability
  • Authority
  • Persuasion
  • Example

Humility “enhances persuasiveness”. John concludes his discussion of humility and leadership with six steps:

  1. We are shaped by what we love.
  2. Reflect on the lives of the humble.
  3. Conduct thought experiments to enhance humility.
  4. Act humbly.
  5. Invite criticism.
  6. Forget about being humble.

In the last paragraph of the book John quotes CS Lewis:

If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realise one is proud. And a biggish step too. At least nothing can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.

I think that is a great way to end … and start.

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Humility

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