The power of humble leadership: From the September newsletter

Welcome to the September edition of our GLC Director’s Letter!

How do leaders cultivate an environment in which a diverse group of people feel included and engaged?

  1. Share your mistakes.
  2. Embrace uncertainty.
  3. Model being a follower.

Based on a leadership study conducted by researchers Dr. Jeanine Prime and Dr. Elizabeth Salib of more than 1,500 workers across the world (Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico, and the U.S.), the most effective leaders display altruistic behaviors—like those listed above—and practice humility when cultivating productive workplaces.

When discussing these findings with my Gettysburg College colleagues, a number of them were surprised to hear that humble leadership was deemed effective. Even today, many leaders still subscribe to the belief that they must have all the answers, take control, and “show others the way.” This study’s results, however, contend that pervasive approach.

At the Garthwait Leadership Center, we teach that humility is an essential leadership behavior, especially in today’s global workplaces and diverse communities. Effective leaders must be approachable and engaging so that anyone in the organization can feel comfortable expressing ideas or even raising concerns.

Humility is not about being weak or indecisive—rather, it is an act of courage. Humble leaders are comfortable enough in their own skin to listen to tough feedback, answer challenging questions, or empower someone with a better idea.

Humility is even more critical for leadership development. The very act of choosing to improve your leadership ability displays vulnerability and humility. It is a statement that communicates to others that you are not perfect, that you have more to learn, and you want to get better.

These are the type of leaders that we develop at the GLC—students and young alumni who are committed to personal growth and creating inclusive teams.

Before I sign off, I wanted share two exciting announcements:

For parents: Registration of the Gettysburg College Leadership Certificate ends on Monday, September 17, so please encourage your child to register for this premier leadership development program. I am happy to speak with them personally if they have questions.

For alumni: Please stop by to see me and the GLC team in our new office at our Homecoming Open House on Saturday, September 22 from 2 – 4 p.m. in CUB 202. I would love to see you!

As always, thank you for your support of the GLC.

Best wishes,


Andy Hughes
Director, Garthwait Leadership Center

By Staff
Posted: 10/01/18

More stories