Radical Humility with Urs Koenig

“Tough on results tender on people is really the ultimate yin yan of humble leadership”

A great conversation with Urs as we delve into the realms of humble leadership and how we can consciously create this practice. We take a dive into the transformative potential of radical humility in leadership and how it can revolutionise the way you lead and connect with your team.

Urs’s experiences as a peace-keeper gave him with a unique perspective on leadership, which he generously shares with us. In environments where lives are at stake, the ability to build trust and foster relationships is paramount. Effective leadership is not just about making decisions but about understanding and connecting with people on a deeper level. This requires a balance of humility and confidence—a delicate dance that can lead to remarkable outcomes as you master the process intentionally.

As diverse teams become more frequent, understanding and bridging generational gaps can lead to a more harmonious and productive work environment. This also requires leaders to be humble, adaptable and open-minded, willing to learn from the unique perspectives each generation brings to the table.

Urs shares his insights, stories and experience to date from all angles : his peace-keeping missions, his experience as an ultra athlete, as a father and from working with leaders all over the globe.

The main insights you’ll get from this episode are :

–      An important part of leading with radical humility is to ask bigger and more difficult questions and not judging when dealing with different value systems, for example.

–      Non-humble leaders need to be shown what teams can achieve by a humble leader in a top-down control culture looking down, controlling their own team and demonstrating their ability.

–      Leaders can be humble and confident, humble and decisive, or humble and ambitious; fundamental self-confidence is required to humbly invite feedback; and being ambitious is about asking hard questions.

–      Leaders should show vulnerability and role model humility: demonstrating appropriate vulnerability is one of the quickest ways to build trust as people admire perfection but can’t relate to it.

–      Shifting from ‘then’ leadership (top-down command control in the industrial age) to ‘now’ leadership (with humility) by developing deep self-awareness; training the feedback muscle; and realising the value of focus and the importance of failing successfully.

–      The most important factor in teams are relationships, so treat others as you would like to be treated and lead like a compass – the true test of leadership is how things function in the absence of the leader.

–      Lead with a shared purpose and with full transparency – share your imperfections, your decision-making and your thought processes, engaging in the ‘thinking person’s sport’.

–      Focus should be on organisational leadership as opposed to individual leadership excellence – create a fearless culture, take responsibility for how your team members interact, provide psychological safety, and be direct.

–      Leaders must ask for help and acknowledge and show gratitude for feedback: there is great value in learning together experientially – in different situations, teams have to rely on each other, regardless of rank.

–      The network age is the fog of war with generational and technological changes, and the ‘fog of work’ presents us with a very complex environment: like the immune system, a team gets stronger when it is tested.

–      A multi-generational workforce brings with it opportunities and challenges: to equip the next generation to be radically humble requires teaching a growth mindset, self-mastery and empathy.

–      A growth mindset means that we must overcome our own assumptions, become less judgemental and understand others’ views – we are all works in progress and must do the hard work of honing both intentional practices and a laser focus.

–      Assuming too much trust is a mistake but start small by revealing something a bit more personal and seeing what comes back, i.e. initiating the vulnerability loop. 

Find our more about Urs and his work here :




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Suzie Lewis

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