December 16, 2020

Inspiring trust by owning your mess, with Scott Miller

Episode 982:

Inspiring Trust by Owning Your Mess

What You Will Learn:

  • How Scott’s varied career path taught him key lessons about humility in leadership that served as the backbone of his newest bestselling book
  • Why Scott titled his book “Management Mess”, and why he wanted to write a different kind of leadership book that teaches people to own their mess
  • Why Scott’s eagerness to talk about his own struggles and to demonstrate vulnerability and humility are key pieces of his book
  • Why humility in leadership can be a powerful trait for any business leader, allowing you to focus on what is right rather than your desire to be right
  • Why Scott believes “trustworthy leaders declare their intent”, building trust and creating clarity through their behavior
  • How to offer a genuine apology that builds trust, doesn’t make excuses, and demonstrates that you recognize the mistake you’ve made and what you need to do to correct it
  • Why leaders are responsible for the culture they create in their business, and how Scott defines “coaching continuously”
  • Why a leader’s job is to build capability in their team members, and why continuous coaching is a powerful way to show that you love your people
  • Why whether your team members stay or leave after the pandemic will be determined by how you treat them during the crisis
  • Why a great leader makes commitments they can promise and keeps the commitments they make, and why it takes courage to say no

Inspiring Trust by Owning Your Mess

Humility is a difficult trait to demonstrate, because many people equate showing vulnerability to showing weakness. However, humility in leadership can be a powerful part of your company culture, because it can build trust and can open the door for your employees to express their own vulnerability. Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as the executive vice president of thought leadership, as well as being a bestselling author and the host of the world’s largest and fastest growing podcast devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Scott recently appeared as a guest on the Onward Nation podcast, where he discussed how showing humility in leadership can build trust, empower your employees, and become a key part of your company’s culture.

Showing humility in leadership

Mirriam-Webster defines humility as: “freedom from pride or arrogance, the quality or state of being humble”. As Scott Miller defines it, humility in leadership means “owning your mess” and recognizing that you sometimes make mistakes. Humility is an important component of trust, whether with your clients or with your internal team members. When you make a mistake, Scott says it is important to apologize in the right way and use the right language. It means letting your guard down, not trying to protect yourself or make excuses, and being clear in how you will change your behavior going forward. Showing humility can be uncomfortable, but your authenticity goes a long way in repairing hurt relationships and can show that your word can be relied on. Because your team looks to you as their leader to set the culture of your company, this level of trust can have a ripple effect throughout your organization.

Continuous coaching

Part of showing humility in leadership is in coaching continuously, and in the right way. It’s about being clear in your expectations, praising your team when they achieve their goals, and reinforcing positive behaviors. You shouldn’t wait until there’s a problem; instead, you should always be coaching your team. Your leadership guides your team, and continuous coaching can help motivate your team to big wins while identifying areas where you can improve. Coaching should be an ongoing, interactive process that strengthens your culture and the effectiveness of everyone on the team.

Humility in leadership

About Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as the executive vice president of thought leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Release, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal best-seller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. Previously, Scott worked for the Disney Development Company and grew up in Central Florida. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

How to Connect with Scott Miller:

Additional Resources:


Stephen Woessner

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.