Humility and Leadership

With the rise of social media, so too comes the rise to noise. It’s the bombardment we experience from the many media & communication channels available to us today. The more we’ve connected to & with, the greater this noise.

In order to get attention according to today’s rules, you have to amass a large following. While the people with the greatest following are those who are larger than life – celebrities. To compete against a celebrity, you have to either rock the boat or rise up doing something better than he/she.

“It’s not being loud or boisterous that counts but learning humility is strength and then to live it out.
~ Dave Geipel

Donald Trump can learn some humility

Recently Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United State. Many wrote him off as just another name on the list or name thrown into the hat. Currently, there are over 15 candidates running for the office for just the Republican party. That’s competition. Everyday, there are others who threaten to enter as well. Yet none of them were able to or have been successful to garner the attention of one person: the Don.

I bring up Donald Trump because he’s a master of media. He knows how reality TV works. He was a student from the mastermind behind reality TV – Mark Burnett.

I met Mark and his wife Roma Downey during the tour of The Bible – a series that aired on History Channel in 2013. They knew the best way to promote the series was to embrace the church and church leaders so they went from market to market and theater to theater to show the first episode and give everyone a chance to ask questions. They didn’t send their marketing team. They were sent by themselves to promote and share the message. They rolled up their sleeves and travel the country together often times to small crowds but they knew the message from one to another through grassroots efforts would pay back big time to get eyes on the screen. It worked. To date, it has been seen by over 100 million people and was the No. 1 new series on cable TV in 2013.

Donald Trump and Mark BurnettSo Donald Trump… You see, he also has learned the power of reality TV not by himself but through his producer, Mark Burnett. You may have heard of a show called Survivor? That’s Mark Burnett. How about the Voice or Shark Tank? That’s Mark. And of course, the Apprentice – well, that’s Donald Trump but the man behind the phenomena is Mark Burnett.

What Donald Trump should have learned from Mark Burnett

I would like to use Mark as a stark contrast against Donald Trump. While Donald Trump is the face of the show, it’s the influence and humility of Mark Burnett that has further propelled the success of the franchises including Donald Trump’s show. In many regards, it was Mark who made sure that the Don knew how to command the art of the soundbite and promotion. If you want to promote the show, you need soundbites and quick shots to promote the weekly show. You need a soundbite to capture the attention of the audience. It’s a requirement to be heard by today’s generation.

The quiet are less inclined to have a voice or get the same attention unfortunately because it’s a world of noise. Yet let me encourage you: It’s not being loud or boisterous that counts but learning humility is strength and then to live it out. It’s humility that builds trust. It’s humility that sees others more valuable than ourselves – that’s the only framework for a successful team too.

People follow the people they trust. And humility builds a leader up to be able to lead from the front and not from behind using fear or barking orders. Humility is what also what Jesus to the cross to die for the sin of the world. He humbled Himself to do the will of His Father.

Back to Mark Burnett for one final moment. If you meet him, you will meet a humble man. His desire is to see the world changed for the better. His work now extends to several charities / non profits including Operation Smile and Compassion. He would likely quote this verse to you too:

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.
Psalm 51:17

So don’t chase a large following, audience or likes. Rather, focus on your humility, especially before God. He hates pride but rewards the humble (remember – the first shall be last and the last first – Matthew 20:16).

Clarification: Using the very public and politically active Donald Trump in this piece does not mean he doesn’t posses humility. I believe he does and that is was makes him a better leader because of it. Great leadership begins with humility and is fueled by it as a result.

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