The Most Important Personality Trait All Business Leaders Should Have | Company Profile

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When most people think of what makes a great business leader, they often say words like “bold,” “strong personality,” “charismatic,” “self-confident,” and “visionary genius.” Business leaders are often in the spotlight, driving their company’s agenda in a very public and visible way.

You might assume that to be a great business leader you have to be aggressive and attention-seeking, to the point of being a bully or egomaniac who will step over other people who get in the way. But what if the truth about what makes a great business leader is more mundane? 

According to research cited by the Wall Street Journal, one of the most important leadership qualities of effective managers is humility. If you want to inspire good teamwork and high individual performance among your employees, it’s best to be a humble leader. 

What does humble leadership mean, and how can you bring a spirit of humility to your business? Consider these bits of “humble advice.” 

Pay attention to your own weaknesses 

Humble leaders tend to have a high level of self-awareness of their own weaknesses and vulnerabilities. They don’t beat themselves up, but they know they’re not always going to be the smartest person in the room, and they don’t expect to be the best at everything. When leaders understand their weaknesses, they are better at delegating, bringing in outside expertise, exploring different perspectives, and avoiding impulsive decisions. 

Ask for advice (and listen)

Humble leaders aren’t afraid to ask for advice, and more importantly, they will listen to the advice. They are eager to hear from diverse stakeholders and voices from all levels of the organization. And they don’t assume that good ideas and smart solutions only come from the executive ranks. 

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Delegate to others 

Humble leaders don’t micromanage and they don’t take on more than they can handle. They trust their team to do their jobs, and they are eager to delegate tasks and create new opportunities for others. The most humble leaders tend to exude a sense of calm. Instead of being overwhelmed, they quietly and capably are captaining their ship, even when there are lots of moving parts. But because they’re able to delegate, they can proceed calmly during storms. They have the time and mental space to evaluate high-level strategic options and guard against risks and threats. 

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Share the credit, hoard the blame

Humble leaders are eager to share the credit. They are constantly praising their team and deflecting praise off of themselves and onto their people. Humble leaders are happy to see their employees get promoted or even recruited by other organizations; they consider it a compliment of their own leadership skills when good people rise through the ranks and are happy to create a successful culture that nurtures and develops top talent. 

On the flip side, humble leaders are also eager to take more than their share of the blame when things go wrong or when well-meaning plans don’t work out. They take responsibility for their team, good and bad. 

Put the team first 

In all that they do, humble leaders elevate the interests of the team above their own self-interest and ego. They’re more concerned with building a great culture than winning an award or seeing their name in news headlines. They are happy when their employees are happy. They feel proud when their employees win accolades.

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