There are characteristics and traits that enhance a leader’s effectiveness but that doesn’t necessarily mean these characteristics are critical for real success. Take all the elements considered for good leadership and there is one that continues to surface for those whom we consider good leaders past and present. That element is humility.
When teaching classes on leadership I have students name those who are considered great leaders both good and bad. The usual suspects show up with past presidents, military commanders, astronauts, and civil rights activists. By the way, typically Jesus of Nazareth shows up between the third and fifth round and at that time students get one of those, “Aha” moments and really start to think about what actually makes a good leader.
The next step in the process of determining good leaders is assessing their characteristics. Certainly, charisma and the ability to positively influence people head the list but when we get right down to it humility is the one attribute that gives good leaders their strength, longevity, and ability to persevere. It is the basis for their character. Upon that base is the foundation for everything else we seek in good leadership.
We need to start looking at our potential leaders with a different set of eyes that seeks first those subliminal character traits especially with regard to humility. When you start seeing these people beginning with their personal humility you begin to get a glimpse about their character and motivations for leadership. Humility is the true north for all great leaders.