Leadership Ying Yang: Confidence and Humility

This weekend as I was walking through a store a Yin Yang symbol caught my eye.  In Chinese philosophy, the concept of Yin Yang is used to describe how opposing forces are interconnected and interdependent, with one unable to exist without the other. Dark and light; hot and cold; passive and active are all demonstrations of Yin Yang. 

In leadership, Yin Yang principals can be seen throughout but what I want to focus on is confidence and humility.  Specifically, how great leaders have both with the best leaders having a perfect balance of both. 

The Yin Yang symbols made me think of a manager that approached me to discuss what a tough year he is going through and how he is just feeling beaten up.  He was stating how he “has lost his passion for the work, is not connecting with customers, employees and his attitude has changed from wanting to do the best to just getting by.”  It does not take long talking to him to realize that his confidence has taken a beating.  And my assumption is that he probably had good balance to start with because he seemed sincere, authentic, and thoughtful.  But without the confidence, he appeared tired and depressed.  It was taking a heavy toll on his personal and professional life.  

Like Yin Yang, the pendulum can swing the other way where sometimes we can become too full of ourselves and overconfidence charges ahead.  We have all met people who start to “believe their own press releases” and think they deserve all the credit for their success.  Forgetting how their success was from standing on the shoulders of their colleagues, teams and mentors as well as the leaders who came before them.  

So leaders I ask this questions – how is your balance of confidence and humility?  With confidence, you are able to make decisions, take risks, move ahead, deal with setbacks, and tip the balance in your favor.  With humility you are able to open up to learning, see where you can improve, learn from your mistakes, appreciate others and keep perspective on success. The trick for leaders is to find that delicate balance of true self confidence and genuine humility by understanding the significant value and influence that you, as a leader, have in an organization.

Given all that has happened in business and/or organizations, it is not surprising that many leaders have fallen out of balance.   An improving economy will not cure balance.  It comes from a reliance on inner strength.  It is a confidence that is not egotistical or self-serving but grounded in a genuine desire to make a powerful, constructive difference. You have to remember that you do not have all the answers, and even if you did, you should not act like you do.  Nobody likes to work for someone who projects that kind of arrogance.    Getting the balance right, finding the yin and yang of confidence and humility will only make you a better leader.  How will you or how have you balanced these two traits in your life?  

photo credit


About Patricia Knight
Hello and welcome. My name is Patricia Knight. Thank you for taking the time to view my blog. I’m a Human Resources professional who is currently pursing an MBA at the University of Nevada-Reno. I am an analytical, detail-oriented professional who believes that collaboration and negotiation are critical for successful employee relations between leadership and employees.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: