Want to be a GREAT Leader? Try a “Little” More of this One Ingredient!


Good wintry morning! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are having fun enjoying or anticipating the holidays.

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Here’s a check-in question for you:

Where are you on the pride/humility scale?

Great leaders are humble leaders. Which makes Humility a Leadership Essential, and #5 in my series. (The introduction of my Leadership Essentials is here and, ICYMI – #1, #2, #3, and #4.)
Max De Pree once said that humility is essential for leaders because it helps prevent the leadership diseases of

Ego . . . Stagnation . . . Isolation

Think about how dangerous each of those diseases are for leaders.
How do you gauge where you are on the Pride/Humility scale? Pause and reflect.
The inner voice of Pride says . . .

  • This is all about me
  • This is all for me
  • This all depends on me
  • Everyone is here to serve me

The inner voice of Humility says . . .

  • I am part of something larger than myself
  • I am a steward of what belongs to others
  • I am here to do my part
  • I am here to serve others

Ancient Proverbs have warned us for millennia . . . “Pride goes before destruction.” Think of public leaders you know for whom this has happened, is happening or for whom this is a warning.
You may not consider yourself as far out on the Pride end of the spectrum as they, but I still encourage you to take stock.
Humility is the difference between a good leader and a great leader. (Jim Collins called them Level 4 and Level 5 in Good to Great.)
Humility is the beginning posture for personal learning and growth.
Humility is the necessary ingredient for building trust on teams.
Humility is the by-product of an attitude that you are part of something bigger.
Humility is a prerequisite to practicing the kindness our society needs.
And beware of practicing a “false humility” that is really just posturing to gain praise or admiration from others. They can sniff that out.

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On another note. Just last week, two C-level executives in different companies told me how much it matters to them to hear (or not hear) a word of appreciation from their boss. They don’t need a lot of praise – just a word here and there that their leader sees their work and values it.
How about those who report to you? How would they rate you in this category?

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Fun with leaders. I had a brief encounter (as long as it takes to salute and shake hands) with George H. W. Bush when he handed me my diploma as a newly commissioned Second Lieutenant. Here’s a video that is fun to watch and shows a man in arguably the most powerful leadership role in the world, who was humble and could laugh at himself. Enjoy!
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Lastly, a favor, and thanks. I take time to write these posts for you. I hope they help you be a better leader. If they do, please help me by forwarding them to others, and encourage them to sign up so they don’t miss the next one. I also appreciate all of you who like and forward the posts on LinkedIn and Facebook. Thanks for spreading the word to help others lead with their best!
Lead well.