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The Humble Leader

A book by Julian Stodd

"We need a world where we can collaborate, where we can find respect, where humility drives our actions"

About this book

These pages form a reflection on humility and how, in the Social Age, leadership may be more ‘humble’ than ‘hero’.


My work explores the context of the Social Age, and how we can learn to be more humble and fair as Social Leaders.


This essay forms part of that journey. It is intended neither as a definition of humility nor a route map to get you there. If anything, it’s an individual reflection. My own reflection, and structured as such. My own understanding and truth.


At best, I hope it provides you with a set of thoughts to kick off from: a place to start. But I should warn you that I suspect humility itself is not a destination, but rather a measure of the journey that we take.


Your truth is yours to find. I know people who are humble, but few who would describe themselves as such. The badge of humility may be one that is bestowed.


With that thought, humility may not be a state that we attain, but is, perhaps, a light that is shone upon our actions.

It’s not an intention, but rather a judgement. A measurement upon, or a shadow of, our deeds.

A message from Julian Stodd

About the Author

Julian Stodd is a researcher, writer, artist and explorer of the Social Age.

Julian is the founder and Captain at Sea Salt Learning, a global consultancy.


His work explores the context of the Social Age, a time of radical connectivity and social transformation, and takes an evidence based approach to what this means for leadership, learning, culture, innovation, and change.

Julian’s work around Social Leadership, leading at the intersection of formal and social systems, and Social Learning, has been influential in Organisations around the world, adopted by Apple, and Google, to Nokia, SABIC, The Red Cross, and Novartis, and within various Militaries and Government agencies, as well as the World Health Organisation (where he sits as a Special Advisor on Learning Strategy).

His work is research led, evidence informed, and held in a principle of #WorkingOutLoud, shared, always evolving, and highly imperfect.

He has written 17 books, including key research based pieces like ‘The Trust Guidebook’, and ‘The Community Builder Guidebook’, as well as broader texts like ‘The Social Leadership Handbook’, and ‘The Socially Dynamic Organisation - a new model of Organisational Design’, and has contributed core chapters to publications like the US Government published ‘Modernising Learning’ collection, as well as over 2,000 blog posts and articles.

Julian teaches on the University of Pennsylvania Doctoral Chief Learning Officer programme, on the Berlin School of Creative Leadership MBA, and the Mazars University Executive MBA, as well as ad hoc teaching with the Open University.

In 2022 his major research projects are exploring ‘Experimentation and Failure’, ‘The Identity Project’ (looking at the ‘selves’ we bring to work), ‘Learning Fragments’ (a deconstruction of his own legacy work around learning theory and design) and ‘Radical Interpretations’ (a magazine project of future visions for Organisational and societal structure). And his current writing projects are ‘The Learning Science Guidebook’ and ‘The Social Age Guidebook’.

You can read his work at
Twitter @julianstodd
LinkedIn Julian Stodd

Research sites:


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