Humility • Prof. Brad Owens • s01e12

Humility • Prof. Brad Owens • s01e12

If you want to improve yourself and could choose only one trait to begin, you should start with humility. It’s called the “mother of all virtues” because it opens the door to all kinds of personal development. But humility is also sorely misunderstood. It isn’t just an internal attitude about ourselves, but an outward set of behaviors that people can observe. It’s also essential to effective leadership.

This episode, we’ll be taught by humility expert, Prof. Brad Owens. He’s done award-winning research on humility in leaders and has shown that leadership humility is key to getting better engagement, more creativity, and higher functioning teams. Prof. Owens will teach us about the specific ingredients of humility that you can practice and encourage in others.

About Our Guest

Brad Owens (PhD, University of Washington) is a Professor of Business Ethics in the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University. His research has been published in the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organization Science, Personnel Psychology, Leadership Quarterly, Journal of Management, Journal of Business Ethics, and Public Administration Review. Under the general umbrella of Positive Organizational Scholarship, his research focuses on the impact of leader humility on individuals and teams, ethical leadership, and relational energy. Brad’s teaching interests include business ethics, organizational behavior, and leadership.

Useful Links

Prof. Owens’ Bio Page

“Motivation to Lead: A Meta-Analysis and Distal-Proximal Model of Motivation and Leadership.”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Volume 105, Pages 331-354, 2020

“How Does Leader Humility Influence Team Performance? Exploring the Mechanisms of Contagion and Collective Promotion Focus”, Academy of Management Journal, Volume 59, Pages 1088-1111, 2016

“Initiating and Utilizing Shared Leadership in Teams: The Role of Leader Humility, Team Proactive Personality, and Team Performance Capability”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Volume 120, 2016

Kant and the Ethics of Humility Jeanine Greenberg argues that we can indeed speak of Aristotelian-style, but still deeply Kantian, virtuous character traits. She proposes moving from focus on action to focus on a person, not leaving the former behind but instead taking it up within a larger, more satisfying Kantian moral theory.

Self-Renewal: The Individual and the Innovative Society is a book based on why learning is important to creativity and leading.

Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America’s Greatest Virtue

In the Heart of the World Mother Teresa shares principles of selflessness, forgiveness, compassion, and spiritual Strength.

About Merit Leadership

To learn more about how you can develop ethical skills that turn peril into opportunity, visit

Pleasant Pictures Music

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Written by

Aaron Miller

Aaron Miller

Provo, UT