Humility is something that almost always sneaks up on you.

Last week I attended the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) put on by the Willow Creek Association for the 5th time. This is an event I look forward to every year and I advocate for all leaders to go. It is extremely valuable and each year I walk away a better leader because of the wisdom of the respected speakers.

This year was no different.

Andy Stanley got my wheels turning in pursuing the “uniquely better.”

Juliet Funt reminded me of the drawbacks of going too hard in the areas of drive, excellence, information, and activity.

Gary Haugen blew my mind when he talked about how my leadership can thrive if I keep an inventory of my own fears.

It was two days full of wonderful content and leadership lessons, but my biggest lesson learned from the GLS didn’t come from any of the speakers.

My Biggest Lesson Learned from the GLS

In a break between sessions, my boss humbly requested that if there was some truth from the stage that I hoped that he specifically heard, for me to let him know. He wanted me to tell him what I thought he should be hearing.

Talk about a dangerous request!

There was indeed some wisdom that I hoped he had heard in order to continue to lead our church effectively. Then a realization violently came to my mind when I made eye contact with my direct report standing with us.

I hadn’t even thought of asking him what he hoped I had heard from the speakers. More than that, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of taking tips from someone seven years my junior.

I was happy to give constructive criticism to a senior leader, but didn’t want to receive any from a younger leader. What does that say about me?

Pride was my default in an environment made for humility.

I quickly swallowed my pride and listened to the loving thoughts that my direct report had for me. You know what? His comments were both helpful and right. From his words I was humbly reminded of a number of my leadership blindspots.

A mantra of the GLS is “Whenever a leader gets better, everybody wins.”

Going forward, I am committed to asking for leadership feedback as often as I am asked to give feedback to those who lead me.

What would it take for you to ask those you lead for feedback regarding some of your blindspots?