2011 Global Leadership Summit Session 7a Notes: John Dickson #wcagls

John DicksonAre prestigious titles and powerful positions prerequisites for impactful leadership? “You don’t need structural authority to be a leader of influence,” according to historian and social commentator John Dickson. “The leader’s strongest tool is humility,” he says. “It intensifies credibility.” Dickson, the author of Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership (May 2011), investigates the crucial role humility plays in a leader’s life—and its theological, historical, and practical implications. Dickson issues this challenge: Navigate the complex intersection of leadership and humility, and learn to lead through persuasion, example, and influence rather than positional authority. Dickson offers practices to help you cultivate deeper authentic humility on your team—and in your soul.


  • We’re really scared of crocodiles in Australia… and man hugs.
  • Humility is a tricky issue.  If you claim to be an expert in humility, you probably aren’t.  But if you aren’t they why are you speaking to us?
  • I have a love-hate relationship with humility
  • Humility is not humiliation, low self-esteem, or hiding your talents.
  • Humility is the noble choice to forgo your status and use your influence for the good of others… (missed the end of the quote)
  • Humility makes the great greater.

Humility is common sense

  • None of us is an expert at everything.
  • What we don’t know far exceeds what we do know.
  • Expertise in one area counts for very little in another.
  • A true expert should know this more than anyone, because a true expert knows how much there is to know about their field.
  • Because the bible trumps all other knowledge we think we can apply the bible way outside our expertise.
  • To preach well to my church, I have to listen to the expertise right out there in the seats.

Humility is beautiful.

  • We are more attracted to the great who are humble than the great who want everyone to know about it.
  • Sir Edmund Hillary, 1st man to summit Everest, was famous for the rest of his life.  Served the people of Nepal, built hospitals.
  • Humility has not always been seen as beautiful. Pursuing honor was beautiful to the ancient Greeks.
  • How have we come to prize humility and not honor seeking?
  • A humility revolution tool place in the middle of the 1st century through a teacher from Nazereth.
  • It probably wasn’t Jesus teaching that changed the way people thought. It was actually his crucifixion.
  • Crucifixion was the most humbling way to die.
  • Philippians 2:3-8
  • We only like people who actually are humble, not those who pretend to be.
  • Western culture has been profoundly shaped by the cross of Christ, and continues to be long after the preeminence of Christianity.

Humility is generative.

  • It generates knew knowledge and abilities.
  • The proud person at a conference like this will come away with less than the proud person.
  • Science itself is based on humility. One can’t just observe the world and make a declaration. A theory has to be tested and peer tested.
  • Humility can be accidental.
  • Sometimes its in the worst places and circumstances that we learn something we couldn’t have otherwise learned.

Humility is persuasive.

  • The textbook on persuasion for 2000 years was written by Arostotlc. His theory is that there must be logos (logic), pethos? (emotion), and ethos (character of the persuader). The character of the persuader is the most important.
  • The most believable person in the world is the person who you know has your best interest at heart.
  • The real power of effective leadership is maximizing other people’s potential… means they must get the credit… if our ego gets in the way, that’s a problem.
  • When our great leaders seem aloof, we don’t think we can be like them. When they are approachable, we think we can be like them and they inspire us.
  • 4 tools of leadership: ability, authority, character, persuasion.
  • Some of the most inspiring leaders in history had no structural authority.
  • You don’t need the keys to the kingdom to impact the kingdom.
  • Tells the story of how he & his band got into the hotel U2 was staying at. Hung out in the restaurant until U2 entered. U2 took the time to sign their stuff and talk to them. They seemed just like us. We believed we could do what they do.
  • You should be like Christ Jesus who being the very nature of God, humbled Himself.
What was your biggest takeaway(s) from John Dickson’s talk? What action steps are you going to take?

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.