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Trust, Vulnerability and Humility


At the core of organizational health, at the foundation of just about everything having to do with the principles in just about every book I’ve written, is the concept of trust. Without it, a leadership team can’t become cohesive. And without that, an organization can’t become healthy, and can’t come anywhere close to reaching its potential.

Of course, the key to building trust on a team is vulnerability. If leaders, and ultimately their team members, cannot be genuinely vulnerable with one another, if they cannot be uncomfortably honest about their strengths, weaknesses, mistakes, needs for help, they will not develop trust. That’s what makes trust so rare.

Of course, the key to being vulnerable is humility. People who cannot come to terms with the truth about themselves—and truth is the essence of humility—will not be comfortable with vulnerability.

Beneath organizational health, beneath teamwork, beneath almost all enduring, great endeavors, is genuine humility. It is and has always been the most attractive of human virtues, and it guards the gate of the greatest human frailty: pride.

So, whether you’re a CEO trying to become a better leader, a mid-level manager hoping to advance in your career, a new employee wanting to establish yourself in the company you’ve just joined, or even a student plotting the future of your career, start by making yourself as humble as you can be. It is the quiet secret to lasting success.