Every Great Leader Must Possess This 1 Trait

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Leaders build dreams, right? But, what exactly makes someone a great leader?

Building an amazing team takes time, clarity, vision and the understanding that team players are noble leaders as well.

I read this article a few years ago. The author, Tracy Simmons, explains that the answer to that question is complicated, however there is one common trait that every great leader must have: Humility.

Simmons explains, “When I’m interviewing a leader to join our team I ask a variety of questions, but the one thing that I’m listening for under the surface of the answers is humility. Not the sickly sweet distorted version of humility which turns some people into doormats, but the powerful kind of humility that moves mountains while always upholding the dignity of every person involved.”

While Simmons elaborates on the 16 traits of humility, here are my top 7 from his list:

  1. You admit your weaknesses, flaws, and the things you don’t do well. You laugh at yourself. You know you have an inner freak and you’ve embraced it. Humility allows you to give an honest assessment of yourself. Arrogance will cause you to mask the things you don’t do well.
  2. You do not feel threatened by (and are willing to hire) people who are smarter than you, have greater skills and experience than you…and you’re happy to pay them more than you make.  You know that hiring people who are better than you doesn’t diminish you or your role.
  3. You welcome constructive criticism. You ask for feedback—and openly listen to it and receive it—even when it’s hard to hear. You look for the truth in what is being said rather than thinking about how to defend yourself. You are teachable. You place high value on pushback and welcome the hard (sometimes painful) truths.
  4. You’re willing to admit when you’ve blown it and to apologize for your mistakes. The greater your level of responsibility, the deeper your apologies will go. The apologies you make are clear, specific, and contain the words, “I’m sorry.”
  5. You’re willing to have hard conversations. This means you’re okay with not being everyone’s best buddy. During hard conversations you always strive to uphold the person’s dignity and to speak with kindness, while not shrinking back from the truth.
  6. You’re willing to serve and to lead by example. Nothing is beneath you. You will do whatever you can to serve the people you’re leading. You ask them regularly what you can do to better support them.
  7. You willingly share your knowledge with others. You have no need to hoard it in order to look smarter or better than others. You want to help others develop and grow as far as possible.

Simmons describes humility as the powerful kind of humility that moves mountains while always upholding the dignity of every person involved. Enough said.

What trait/s do you think every great leader must possess?

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