“I was just doing my job.”
Humility is a hallmark of all great leaders. It is a sign of strength, not
weakness. It attracts other people so that the group’s goals may be
achieved. People abhor arrogance; it makes them feel small. Humility,
on the other hand, attracts people, empowers them, and builds
As Harry Truman said “you can accomplish anything in life, provided
that you do not mind who gets the credit.” The self-mastery required
to move beyond your own parochial self-interests and help others
feel recognized and appreciated requires a strong sense of personal
humility. Humility in the self breeds power in others. It is one of the
qualities that made the so-called Greatest Generation (the generation
that fought World War II) so great.
The 100th, 442nd and MIS veterans who are still living remain very
humble when it comes to recognition. They often express how much
they don’t deserve to be singled out for recognition. Many say that they
also often downplay their individual contributions and focus on their
comrades’ or units’ accomplishments.
When they received the Congressional Gold Medal, most minimized
their individual roles to avoid being singled out. Instead they talked
about what their team achieved. As a group, they are very modest,
or humble, about what they did.