Manage Smarter 254 — Urs Koenig — Radical Humility: Transforming Leadership from Heroic to Humble

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In this episode of the Manage Smarter Podcast, hosts C. Lee Smith and Audrey Strong talk with Urs Koenig about the concept of Radical Humility. Urs is a former United Nations military peacekeeper, NATO military peacekeeping commander, ultra-​endurance champion, widely published professor, best-​selling author, and seasoned executive coach with over 30 years of experience.

He has helped hundreds of leaders and dozens of executive teams unlock new levels of achievement. Koenig is the founder of the Radical Humility Leadership Institute and frequently speaks on the topic of leadership to corporations. He holds a PhD in geography, a Master of Science from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management.

This episode sheds light on the concept of radical humility in leadership and its practical applications in various organizational settings. By embracing humility, building meaningful relationships, and fostering a culture of continuous learning, leaders can elevate their teams to new levels of achievement and success.

In this podcast for sales managers and executive leadership, Audrey, Lee and Urs Koenig discuss:

Developing Deep Self-Awareness

To improve self-​awareness, Urs Konig recommends regularly asking for feedback from team members, peers, and superiors. This can be achieved by asking questions such as "What do you see me do well as your manager, and what can I do better?" on a regular basis.

Balancing Toughness and Compassion in Leadership

Urs addresses the misconception that leading with humility means being a pushover. He emphasizes the importance of holding team members to high standards while also treating them with compassion and developing deep and meaningful relationships with them.

Creating a Leadership Factory

Urs emphasizes the importance of making it the explicit goal of teams to produce the next generation of leaders for the organization. By identifying opportunities for team members and facilitating their growth, leaders can create a culture of leadership development within their teams.

Scaling Humble Leadership in Large Organizations

While it may be challenging to build deep relationships with every employee in a large organization, Urs suggests that leaders can influence their immediate teams and model the behaviors they want to see scaled through the organization. By demonstrating humility and leadership at the top, these qualities can trickle down through the organization.

Embracing After-​Action Reviews and Learning from Failures

Urs discusses the importance of after-​action reviews and different types of failures, including preventable failures, intelligent failures, and complex failures. By promoting transparency and accountability, leaders can create a culture of learning from failures and continuously improving.

Koenig's Unique Journey as a UN Peacekeeper

Audrey and Lee inquire about Konig's experience as a UN peacekeeper and the diplomatic and military components of his role. Urs shares insights into the training and responsibilities of a peacekeeper, highlighting the importance of both military and diplomatic skills in peacekeeping missions.

"Be tough on results but tender on people."

Urs Koenig

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