Archives For Great Leaders
Good morning! It’s an unusually warm foggy morning here in northeast Indiana. Being a Southern boy that’s ok with me as I am not quite ready for snow just yet.
Last week, I was part of a team conducting leadership training for an Ambassador company in Tennessee. As we were going through the training I kept noticing a particular characteristic that was being mentioned over and over as being fundamental to effective leadership. Also, the absence of this characteristic has been the source of the downfall of so many gifted leaders. However, this characteristic goes counter to the popular image of a leader. Somehow, it just doesn’t fit the image of a leader – especially the image portrayed by the media.
This common characteristic is humility. Truly effective leaders who have a lasting impact on people and the organizations are marked by humility. Jim Collins in his book Good to Great found that the “Level 5” leaders of these great companies were marked by deep personal humility and fierce resolve. Most of these CEO’s led quietly, were quick to give credit to others and to accept personal responsibility when things did not go well. They served others and the organization – not themselves.
Are you living a life of humility? Is your life one of serving God and others or is it one of serving yourself? Humility is a choice – it is an intentional way of living life. It is outward / others focused vs. inward / self-focused. As a result it is a much richer way of living.
So make the choice today – live a life of humility and make a real difference in this world.
In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about how all of the leaders of the great companies in his study had a “charisma bypass.” In this same vein, Joel Stein writes on the Harvard Business Review website about how he spent hours with leaders of all types and found that they were not these charismatic hero types, but were in fact a little boring. Following is one excerpt:
“. . . I learned that my vision of what makes a good leader was all wrong. I spent hours working alongside fire chiefs, army captains, Boy Scout troop leaders, and others who guide teams. To my surprise, the best of them tended to be quiet listeners who let other people make most of the decisions. They weren’t particularly charismatic. Or funny. They weren’t the toughest guys in the pack. They didn’t have a Clintonian need to be liked, or a Patton-like intensity. They were, on the whole, a little boring.”
The point I would like to make or question I want to ask you is – Are you overlooking some of your potentially best leaders because they don’t fit your (or our culture’s) preconceived notion of what a leader “looks like”? Are you automatically overlooking the “boring” people? Maybe some of your best potential leaders are quietly working away right under your nose.
Have a blessed day!