'Humility and not unquestioned perfection' is key to leadership, administrator says

Joe Peluso, administrator at Aestique Surgery Center in Greensburg, Pa., joined Becker's to discuss what humility means to him as a leader.

Editor's note: This response was edited lightly for brevity and clarity. 

Joe Peluso: The word "humility" comes from the Latin root "humus," meaning rich fertile

earth, which suggests groundedness and understanding. Even though I am into my third decade serving in healthcare leadership roles, I have found it humbling starting every day of my career. Although my enthusiasm for learning and serving in a leadership position is unabated, sometimes I am overwhelmed by the times I have to say, "I don't know."

Some days this feels like an admission of ineptitude or failure in an unconquerable pursuit of perfection in my position, but it's just a dose of humility.

Humility is one of the most challenging virtues in leadership, partly due to the cultural emphasis on confidence, excellence, intellect and decision-making. To become leaders, we need a competitive spirit, a confident voice, an ability to listen, and compelling wisdom and understanding to mold consensus.

Humility can be deemed as a sign of weakness, indecisiveness or incompetence. However, humility combined with patience, compassion, generosity and gentleness is necessary to help us embrace leadership. I have learned to welcome the phrase "I don't know" as an honest pursuit of knowledge, an opportunity to encourage teamwork, and, most importantly, to provide the best leadership, because it is with humility and not unquestioned perfection that we can truly lead an organization.

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