The words humble and champion seem like an odd combination, unless you are this year’s Super Bowl LII winners, the Philadelphia Eagles.
Last week I wrote about their “underdog” status as they chased pro football’s ultimate prize. Now, the entire Philadelphia region where I live and work is celebrating a remarkable team and their accomplishments.
The game was competitive from start to finish but what struck me most as I watched the action and post-game interviews was the humility displayed by Eagle’s coaches and players. They accepted the outcome by honoring God, acknowledging the ups and downs of their season-long journey, and praising the efforts of everyone on the team.
MVP quarterback, Nick Foles, spoke of his challenging journey with self-doubt and how close he came to leaving the sport for good. He credited God, his coaches, and teammates for believing in him and helping him through a tough time in his life.
Facing adversity is one way to understand what it takes to be humble. Here are a few reasons why leaders should learn how to demonstrate this virtue.
- It makes us teachable. Humble leaders know what they don’t know. They aren’t intimidated by smarter team members or threatened when they don’t have all the answers.
- We need it to practice forgiveness. Humility is necessary for leaders to reconcile with those they may have hurt by their actions or inactions. It’s also a key to forgiving ourselves.
- It shows true gratitude. Intent is often associated with whether our gratitude is real or phony. When we are humble, it shows we have the right intentions; that we are being selfless rather than selfish.
- It affirms that weakness is a part of life. Every leader faces challenges. Humility allows us to acknowledge that we need help.
- It opens us up to new truth. Humble leaders aren’t afraid to learn they might be wrong. They welcome new ideas and encourage everyone to share their perspectives, even when they run counter to the leader’s own version of the truth.
You won’t find humility in many of today’s marketplaces, especially in leadership positions. That is why the Philadelphia Eagles win is more than just the first Super Bowl championship for a city that loves football.
It’s a model for competing, winning, and living that we all should try to emulate.