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Humble and Ambitious

Can I Be Both Humble and Ambitious? #Askingforafriend (Video)

by | Mar 25, 2022 | Asking For a Friend Featured, By Karin Hurt |

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Amer Kaissi Shares Insights on the Power of Humbition

If you’ve been following me for a bit you know that I’m all about confident humility. Watching leaders with and without it inspired my first blog posts a decade ago while still working at Verizon. And was a grounding principle of our first book, Winning Well. I’m a HUGE believer in landing in the AND of “humble and ambitious.”

That’s why I was so delighted to learn of Amer Kaissi and his remarkable, practical research about humble ambition, in his book Humbitous. 

This is the first in a three-part Asking For a Friend Interview with Amer on how to be humble and ambitious.

What Does the Research Say About the Power of Humble Ambition?

humble and ambitious

How Does this Humbitious Approach Relate to Confident Humility?

Karin, I know you talk about confident humility as one of your 6 concepts you can’t lead without. How does this relate?

Amer and I had a great conversation about that as he was writing his book. Here’s an excerpt from page twenty-nine.

Confidence is another key trait that pulls your followers towards you. Employees want to follow confident leaders who are decisive and have a strong sense of direction and vision.

However, as leadership expert Karin Hurt notes, “confidence without humility can be dangerous” because it can significantly limit the effectiveness of a leader.  Confident leaders who lack humility may stay the course, but they don’t seek crucial input from others.

They may get others to follow them, but they don’t get their full support.

In a recent exchange, Hurt, the founder of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive, explained to me that while sometimes people think of confidence as the opposite of humility, we need to understand that it is an “and proposition.”

When you have the confidence to set an audacious vision coupled with the humility to know your vulnerabilities and surround yourself with people who will challenge you, then you have a powerful combination.

When you combine high confidence and high humility, you become an “enabler leader.” You are not worried about being taken advantage of, because you have the confidence to speak up for yourself. You are secure enough in your own abilities that your focus is not directed towards receiving praise for yourself.

Instead, you focus on the wellbeing of others, and you give them credit for achievements. You lead for the long run and to contribute to the greater good.

True confidence means you become strong in your humility.

Your turn.

Where have you seen humble ambition work well? How do you develop it in yourself and others?

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results.  She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

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