How Great Leaders Stay Modest


By Jas Singh

Successful leaders often reach the top.

Recognition, reward and power can be part-and-parcel of being the best in one’s field.

Unsurprisingly, big achievement – sometimes very rapidly – can cause people to change. Rapid success and immense belief in one’s ability builds confidence. Which is great. The problem is however confidence can sometimes boil over into arrogance. We all know people whose ego’s have ballooned when they’ve achieved success.

But in ten years as a hiring specialist working with over 13,000 different leaders I’ve noticed something very different about the truly greatest leaders of all.

Despite huge success they retain their modesty.

Here are some reasons why great leaders stay modest.

They realize what made them successful in the first place

Success can be a funny game.

The factors that are necessary for success – hard work, persistence, modesty – are often forgotten about once we finally reach our goals. It’s human nature to become lazy once the pressure is off – and fall back into bad habits. Almost as if we feel we’ve earned it.

Great leaders stay modest because they remember that modesty is often what made them successful in the first place. It’s a vital ingredient to them becoming successful – and more importantly, staying successful.

Why change a winning formula?

Great leaders stay modest to keep achieving more.

They owe their success to their teams

The greatest leaders build the greatest teams.

In my career so far, I can say with confidence that people achieve and earn much more by being able to get other’s to work effectively than any level of individual ability.

I’ve seen uneducated, inexperienced and financially broke people far outdo people with “more ability” or “more resources” simply because of their ability to motivate others and get them to work in a spirit of co-operation.

You can only connect to people if you’re on their level. If you are modest, respectful and can relate to them. By letting success “get to one’s head” and losing one’s modesty, why run the risk of alienating others?

Great leaders understand that they owe their success first and foremost to their teams.

They’re still obsessed first and foremost with their purpose

Leadership is all about serving others and driving a meaningful purpose. The minute the focus becomes mainly about the person themselves, he or she stops becoming a leader.

That’s why the highest achievers never spend too long standing still once they finally reach their goals. They build new goals to make sure they keep moving and stay busy.

Great leaders are obsessed with making their visions into reality. It’s what they think, do and dream about all day long. They’re far too busy and pre-occupied with their purpose and serving others than spend lots of time engaging in self-praise or ego massaging.

Great leaders stay modest by keeping busy.


There are fine lines between disbelief, modesty and arrogance.

Leaders certainly should not be meek and quiet – in many cases being strong-willed is essential to get things done and lead others.

But rapid success can be also dangerous. And in such cases a spoonful of modesty can go a long way.

Hiring managers can gain much from those people who are high achievers but have the ability to stay modest at the same time.

They can often be the most previous people of all.

Do you know anyone who could do with a dose of modesty?

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