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Humility as a Leadership Attribute: Understanding the Effects of Humility on Military Leadership

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Technical Report,14 Aug 2017,15 Jun 2018

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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The concept of humility as a leadership attribute appears in leadership theories and command philosophies throughout the military and is prevalent in many leadership discussions and counseling. But U.S. Army leadership doctrine does not include humility as a necessary characteristic of effective leadership. This study researched the role of humility as an attribute and its effects on military leadership to ascertain the viability of its inclusion in leadership discussions as a vital element of leadership. Four case studies were conducted on prominent military leaders who exhibited humble leader behaviors. George C. Marshall, Oliver P. Smith, Harold G. Moore, and Colin Powell were highly successful and influential leaders whose military careers revealed insight into the effects of humility. Each leaders demonstrated humility enhanced their effectiveness as leaders, enabled them to inspire a higher sense of loyalty and commitment within their respective organizations, and contributed to a higher level of emotional intelligence for each. Additionally, humility enabled leaders to exert long-term influence and contributes to a more positive long-term influence on their organizations.

Subject Categories:

  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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