Ch. 14 – The Role of Humility in Leadership PaperDevelop Your Career PotentialPurposeFor a long whil

Ch. 14 – The Role of Humility in Leadership PaperDevelop Your Career PotentialPurposeFor a long while, the trend in leadership was for the charismatic, larger-than-life, rock-star-style leader, but after a few bouts with hubris, that leadership style has given way to a more humble approach. The purpose of this assignment is to have students recognize the powerful role humility plays in effective leadership by having them examine a moment when they needed to take ownership for something they did wrong and apologize and make amends.THE ROLE OF HUMILITY IN LEADERSHIPEverybody makes mistakes; today’s media-saturated culture makes everyone’s mistakes everyone else’s news. This is particularly true of leaders, who are less able (perhaps simply unable) to hide from the media microscope than in times past. We want our leaders to have an unshakable integrity, so when their mistakes turn into front-page news, it provides a unique look at the mettle of those who lead our governments, institutions, and businesses. One of the functions of leadership is to assume responsibility for company actions, even when those actions are dubious at best or downright shameful at worst. But how can leaders—who are supposed to always take the high road—work through mistakes that they or their organizations have made? The answer is simple: a sincere apology. Okay, so the answer is not so simple. Everyone knows that apologizing is not so easy, as proved by the associated lump in the throat and the awful feeling that comes from knowing that something you did caused someone else pain, embarrassment, loss, or hardship. But as you read in the chapter, a critical element of what leaders do and how leaders succeed is consideration, which is akin to empathy, the engine of a sincere apology.How do youapologize for mistakes? Do you use “sorry†so often that it is devoid of meaning? Or do you apologize profusely, which comes to the same effect? Do you wait until you have time to think things over, or do you apologize immediately if briefly? The biggest mistake that leaders make when apologizing is passing the buck and using the word regretinstead of apologize. Leaders take responsibility for actions and should assume blame even if it is not their own. Making an unqualified assumption of responsibility helps demonstrate that your apology is sincere, as does going beyond a basic “I’m sorry.†According to Karen Friedman, a communication coach, “‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t cut it. . . . It’s empty, hollow, and quite frankly, pathetic: ‘I’m sorry I cooked the books.’ ‘I’m sorry I beat my wife. I won’t do it again.’ You have to say, ‘I made a terrible mistake. I offended people. I lied. I was stupid.’†So, one of the marks of a true leader is not hubris, but humility. In other words, the best way to appearsincere is to besincere.Sources: J. Zaslow, “Mistakes Were Made: What to Take Away from the High-Profile Blunders of 2006,†The Wall Street Journal, 26 December 2006, D1; J. Brodkin, “Corporate Apologies Don’t Mean Much: Data Breaches Force Company Executives to Apologize, But a Bad Apology Can Make Things Worse,†Network World, 14 March 2007, 1; L. Smith, “How Your Corporate Clients Can and Sometimes Must Apologize for Their Mistakes,†Of Counsel, October 2005, 11–13.Questions (No need to try and directly connect or cite chapter concepts to this assignment).Describe a time when something you did or said had a profound negative impact on a person, group, or situation.Did you take responsibility for your actions, or did you try to blame circumstances or other people?Did you apologize? How do you think the person who was receiving the apology took it?What was the most difficult thing about apologizing?Think about some high-profile blunders in recent news, whether in the world of sports, business, or entertainment. How do you think the company or individual involved did at delivering a public apology? Explain why you thought it was—or was not—sincere.

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