In her book The Extraordinary Power of Leader Humility, Marilyn Gist, a professor emerita at Seattle University, approaches leadership with a new and stimulating method. She suggests that inspiring people to do what’s needed in the workplace, rather than demanding their cooperation is the secret to a successful business. She outlines the qualities that a leader needs in order to motivate others: humility demonstrated in the leader’s behaviors, placing importance on the dignity of others.


Gist presents case studies of successful organizations using this concept work, disclosing workplaces where leaders work together with their teams, and have relationships with their employees (or volunteers in the case of nonprofits), and how those relationships create an atmosphere of engagement and enthusiasm.

The Extraordinary Power of Leader Humility presents three primary questions that potential employees will have of their leaders. Who are you? Where are we going? And do you see me? Gist explains that favorable answers to these questions address the “mind, heart, and spirit” of the workers and thus creates respect and a more fervent environment.

Her studies show an alarming number of people not connected emotionally to their workplace. These studies are disturbing and remind me of something my father used to tell me. He was raised by an immigrant father from Hungary who came from the ‘old school’ of thought. “If you are enjoying your work, then you aren’t working,” my father would tell me. Throughout my life I always considered this attitude a negative way of looking at making a living, yet so many people go to work every day with their only dream is to someday retire.

That Marilyn Gist has presents a book to help leaders change that train of thought is a good thing. I’ve read many leadership guides that view workers as commodities rather than human beings, and it gives me pause. It is that very attitude of leaders that make people feel less valued. No one wants to live their life as a human robot. Hence the questions she introduces to us are extremely important to consider. Gist has flipped the pages and shown that the more a leader can do to value their followers, the more productive the company on a whole will be.

The Extraordinary Power of Leader Humility is a guide which offers leaders the knowledge required to answer those questions in a positive way, and to instill faith in their followers so that everyone is inspired and works as a team.


Included in The Extraordinary Power of Leader Humility is a guest chapter written by Alan Mullaly Former President and CEO of Ford Motor Company, and Boeing who explains his experiences in support of Gist’s theories.

The Extraordinary Power of Leader Humility is a well-organized, professionally written, and well documented guide, and is a must-have book for those leaders seeking to raise their standards and to learn how to best inspire, and appreciate, and offer dignity to those who work for them.

DL Gardner