Humility and leadership

The first English Edition

To many people, the words ‘leader’ and ‘humble’ are not natural bedfellows.

Yet once they have grasped the definition more than 95 percent of employees want a humble leader and more than 97 percent of managers want to be one.

That is good news! Yet there is a dangerous gap: 80 percent of managers worldwide already see themselves as humble And only 36 percent of employees agree. 

If you want to find out more about the definition of humilty, if you want to find out were you stand on the humility scale, if you want to find out where the stumblings blocks are on the path to humility, then this is the right book for you!

My own research with more than 3,500 managers contributes to the canon of positive effects that have been measured by dozens of researchers during the last decade:

  • Humility benefits employees (ranging from better performance, more innovation, stronger resilience to better client relations, and stronger morals)
  • Humility benefits the organization (ranging from better ambidextrous strategies, a better culture of taking full responsibility, dealing with errors and fewer sunk costs)
  • Humility benefits the managers themselves (ranging from more seen leadership potential to less stress and better relationships with employees).

Dozens of case studies, quotes from more than 170 interviews with top managers, lively storytelling of real-life examples, and solid research with actionable take-aways, plus personal assessments, make this an eminently readable and practical book for managers worldwide.

Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of THINK AGAIN and host of the TED podcast WorkLife says about the book

“Franziska Frank makes a compelling case that in leadership, humility is a source of strength, not a sign of weakness. She offers useful guidance for identifying your weaknesses, increasing your self-awareness, improving your relationships, and accelerating your learning.” 

Dr. Franziska Frank works as a freelance faculty, keynote speaker, author and programme director in three languages: She is also Visiting Lecturer and Affiliate Program Director at ESMT Berlin, Germany's Number 1 Business School.

In open and customized courses for ESMT Berlin, Singapore Management University, Haufe and companies direct she teaches about all facets of influencing:

  • indirectly via humility as a role model
  • directly with 18 trainable rules
  • self-focused via mindfulness and knowledge about the brain
  • externally-focused via clear leadership
  • issue-focused via effective project management, problem-solving, decision-making and negotiation.

In 2019 she published her book 24 Karat Success about influencing self and others. In February 2023 the second German edition of her book on humble leadership came out with Springer Gabler as well as the first English edition with Taylor & Francis: The Power of Humility in Leadership - Influencing as a Role Model.

When she was 15, she left her hometown of Munich to take O- and A-Levels in an English boarding school. She then read history at Cambridge (B.A. and M.A.), followed by two state examinations with Prädikat in law in Germany. During her studies she worked as a freelance journalist for the Süddeutsche Zeitung and other newspapers. After completing her doctoral thesis, she joined Boston Consulting Group as a management  consultant for six years. From November 2005 to July 2016 she worked full-time as Program Director at ESMT Berlin. She is a qualified MBSR teacher with the Oasis Institute at the University of Massachusetts.

She knows that she knows next to nothing - that and the little she knows, she likes to share.

„Humility encourages initiative and has valuable effects on innovation.“

The Power of Humility in Leadership: Influencing As a Role Model First edition 2023
Author: Dr. Franziska Frank
Soft cover : 330 page, 80 black and white graphs.
€ 42.99 £32.99, $38.61 Softcover ISBN 978-1032414195
€ 23.30 £29.68, $ 40,80 | eBook | ASIN ‏B0BRTTHCW5
Herausgeber: Taylor & Francis
Language: English





You can find my blogs on humility here and my podcasts here


Quotes about humility from interviews with Top Managers

"That which is exemplified by the leader is given back: what goes around comes around. Humility brings solidarity and cooperation.” (Interview No. 4, VP Digital Marketing, 50.000 employees)"
"Humility promotes initiative and has valuable effects for innovation”. (Interview No. 10, Deputy Head IT, 1.000 employees)"
"Humility also means approaching the subject of status with a cheerful serenity. Show a greater suppleness, a light-hearted calm when dealing with conventional status symbols - especially in the office context. Who has what parking space, what car, what mobile phone? Just because I could do it, I do not have to do it. Rather I embed it in the context and think about the effect my status symbols create.” (Interview No. 2, Head of Talent Management, 10.000 employees)"
"Humble leaders are more effective and bring in better results, even if you take out the element of luck. (Interview No. 98, GM, 13.000 employees)"
"If you are humble, you are more charismatic and all stake holders will like you. That will make it easier to influence others and be successful.” (Interview No. 158, Head - L&OD and Corporate HR, 70.000 employees)"
"Humble managers feel good. When I feel good, I stay healthy. This also has an effect on others, who also become positive and healthier. A positive cycle.” (Interview No. 12 VP Change, 100.000 employees)"
"Those without humility are careless of the company culture – they don’t provide directions and do not stop the ‘monsters’ as they ought to be stopped.” (Interview No. 146, CEO, 11.000 employees)"

Some of the content

  • The Image of Humility Today
  • Defining and Measuring Humility for Everyday Business
  • The Status of Humility in Companies in Our Day and Age
  • The Benefits of Humility
  • Willingness to Recognize One's Own Strengths and Weaknesses (and to Show Them Where It Makes Sense)
  • Appreciating Others
  • Ability to Learn and Openness to New Ideas and Feedback
  • Seeing the Bigger Picture
  • The Limits and Disadvantages of Humility
  • Different Nationalities, Ages and the Topic of Gender Revisited
  • Humility in Politics
  • Examples of Humility as an Inspiration
  • How to Implement Humility in Your Company and a Glance into the Future