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This month our Leadership Club is celebrating its one-year anniversary. Thank you for becoming a member! I hope the articles we email every two months are interesting and helpful. If you are a new member of our club, click here to read past articles.

Our goal is to improve your ability to influence people and help you become a stronger, more effective leader. We encourage you to use your leadership skills to gently change the culture against smoking. When doctors and healthcare workers join together to promote non-smoking, the beautiful people of China will enjoy a better life.

Picture of a Leader

The picture many people see in their mind when they think of a leader is a confident, loud and assertive person who talks a lot. But that is not the correct image of a great leader. As my wife says, “People who talk the most usually have the least to say.”

Cigarettes are full of deadly poison. Click here to see more pictures.

Being humble is one of the most important qualities of leadership. It requires true confidence and strength and helps others see you as a real person. Humble leaders are able to build strong bonds of trust and earn loyalty among the people they work with.

What is Humility?

Humility is the act of being humble. We can easily recognize humble people by how they live. They are usually calm, courteous, polite and modest. They are never arrogant or proud and do not belittle others to make themselves look good. Humble people are easy to like, very approachable and easy to get along with. They regularly do things for others instead of for themselves. Humble leaders do not think of themselves as being more important than anyone else.

Example of Humility

Many years ago, when America was fighting against Britain to become a nation, a rider on a horse came across three soldiers trying to lift a log into place. It was too heavy, but their officer stood by shouting orders as the men struggled.

When the rider asked the officer why he was not helping, the officer replied, “Sir, I am an officer. I give orders.” The rider got off his horse and joined the soldiers. With his help, the log went easily into place.

As the rider quietly mounted his horse, he said to the officer, “The next time your men need help, send for the Commander-in-Chief and I will be glad to help.” The officer then realized the rider was George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of his army, who later became America’s first President.

A secret of great leadership is to balance confidence and humility. Yes, you need to have experience, energy, and opportunity to make big things happen. And a leader needs confidence, or people around them will lose faith in their ideas. But a lot of leaders get into trouble because they cannot control their self-confidence. As they trust more and more in themselves, it turns into arrogance, greed and recklessness.

Not Natural

Being humble is not natural for most of us, especially in our busy, competitive society. Every day we see people taking advantage of situations, trying to get ahead and make themselves look good. But humble people do not boast or try to impress others. They are generally quiet, gentle and look out for others instead of themselves. Unfortunately, these qualities are difficult to practice. Being humble is not the way most of us live our lives. But being humble is a sign of greatness.

Are You Humble?

How do know if you are humble? A good place to start is to ask your self some questions:

  • Do you like to claim credit for things you do?
  • Do you like to be right and prove what you know?
  • Do you think your job is more important than the next person?
  • Do you think you are smarter than the next person?
  • Do you like to do things on your own without help from others?
  • Do you brag about things you can do?
  • Do you often say things that make people feel bad?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these, you may not be as humble as you think.

How to be Humble

If you want to be more humble as a leader, start by asking others for their opinion. Then listen to what they say. Let me repeat. Great leaders seek answers from those around them. They never fail to gather opinions and suggestions from trusted advisors.

Think back to a time when you worked for someone who never asked your opinion and made all the decisions without including you. I am certain it was not much fun. If this sounds like you, the first thing you have to do is to ask others for their thoughts. Do this often and make it a permanent part of your leadership.

Humble Doctor

Successful doctors sometime have difficulty being humble. With so much education and experience, they are highly specialized experts. This can lead to pride and arrogance. But I want to share a story of a truly humble doctor.

A friend of mine recently had surgery with a highly skilled neurosurgeon. Seven years before, a tumor had been removed from her spine. During the procedure, a nerve was damaged that caused her leg and foot to feel like they were on fire.

After seven years of living with intense pain, she finally found a specialist doctor who offered hope. He implanted a small electronic device in her back that stimulates the spinal cord. Amazingly, it took away the pain. The morning after surgery, the doctor finished his exam in the hospital room, took out his cell phone and told my friend to get her phone out as well. He called her number and said:

“OK. Now you have my cell phone number. If you have any questions, any problems or any concerns, please call me. I do not want you to think of me as the doctor. If you do, you will say ‘No, I don’t want to bother him... He is the doctor.’ Do not think of me as the doctor. Think of me as just another person with some experience and skill that may help you. You are now part of my family and you can call me any time!”

If you want to take your leadership to the next level, add humility to your skills. You will notice a difference. As Confucius taught, keep humble, maintain a low profile, and always do more while talking less.

Do Not Look Away

As a doctor or health care worker, look for ways to help people around you. If you saw a child drinking rat poison, I know you would never look away. You would run to help them from hurting themselves. But on average, boys smoke their first cigarette when they are just 11 years old. They are children taking deadly poison, and society is encouraging them by giving cigarettes as gifts.

Young boys quickly learn that real men smoke and cigarettes help improve social interactions. But once they are hooked, very few can quit. The deadly poison will cut their lives short.

Look for opportunities to use your leadership skills to help young boys. I also encourage you to share our Leadership Club with your friends and colleagues and invite them to join. Together we will make a difference.

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