Humility

humility [hjuːˈmɪlɪtɪ]
the state or quality of being humble


An undercurrent in many of the posts in Fully Involved has to do with the leader’s role in being humble, and the importance of passing credit to the people who play a big part in accomplishing a goal.  While it is true that there is a lot that goes into the responsibility of being an officer (or a coach), a large part of the credit for the success of the team is due to the hard work of the masses.  

Harbaugh displays a deep commitment to each member of the team.



The people that fall in line with the leader’s vision are those who shoulder the burden of implementing the plan. They are the ones who must execute the game plan successfully. When the goal is attained, they deserve a great deal – if not all – of the credit.


Jim Harbaugh and the 2011 San Francisco 49ers have been an excellent example of the leader – the one with the vision who inspires his disciples – deferring credit to those who do the work in accomplishing a goal. Harbaugh took a rudderless organization and turned it around with an unwavering commitment to his men. Though the team did not win it all – they were defeated in the NFC Championship game by the eventual Super Bowl winners, the New York Giants – Harbaugh was named The Associated Press’ (AP) Coach of the Year.  The award is typically given to the coach who orchestrates the greatest turn-around of an organization during the previous season. Bill Walsh was the last 49ers coach to receive the award. It is an esteemed award to say the least.

When Harbaugh was notified that he would be a candidate for the award, he was so humble in his response to the honor that he dispatched his starting quarterback – Alex Smith – to accept on his behalf. Harbaugh did not want to accept credit for a season made possible by his players.

Your people will appreciate you as a leader if you take the lead when danger and adversity arise.  

“I did not want to take a deep bow for what the players had done,” he said. “And what our players did was play their hearts out and had an incredible season. They are the ones that hold our fate in their hands.”



Harbaugh has inspired his men by demonstrating strong beliefs, values, and vision.  He has set the example and creates enthusiasm for his vision with a strong dedication to the team, and by giving the credit to those who accomplish the work.  Harbaugh knows that his players are smart enough to understand that words alone do not accomplish much of anything.  People respond more to what they see than what they hear. What his men see is a leader who supports their efforts from a position of humility.  


He is very modest in the assessment of his own importance. “Winning as a team is better than anything. It’s great to share success.”


Harbaugh (The Jackhammer) is at it again.  He is laying the ground work for next season and the clean up crews at Lucas Oil Stadium haven’t even finished sweeping up the confetti from the Super Bowl. He continues to show that he believes in the team concept, and that he places the success of the team above self-gratification.

Alex Smith accepts the AP Coach of the Year Award on behalf of his coach.


All members of the team are with the program. “We are in lock-step as an organization,” Harbaugh said. When celebrating success, it is better to lead from the rear and put your people out front. Your people will appreciate you as a leader if you take the lead when danger and adversity arise.  


The picture of Alex Smith accepting the AP Coach’s award on his leader’s behalf tells the story. Harbaugh puts his players out in front – giving them much deserved credit – but the leader looms large in the background, ever watchful, and supportive of their efforts.


Think about it.







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