There are a handful of people in my life that I look up to as leaders – I am constantly trying to emulate their best characteristics. These people treat others with respect, are modest, are always friendly, work exceptionally hard, persevere through challenges, don’t make excuses and have achieved a great deal of success in both their personal and professional lives. I’ve always thought that it isn’t hard to be a great person and it isn’t hard to be great professionally, however not many people are able to do both at a high level. I recently came across a study that highlights this rare combination that great leaders possess.
The study I am referring to is from renowned management researcher Jim Collins. Collins studied 1,435 Fortune 500 companies and found only 11 that achieved and sustained greatness – garnering stock returns at least three times the market’s – for 15 years after a major transition period. His research showed that each of these companies had a “Level 5” leader at the helm – Collins found that each leader had the very rare combination of Personal Humility and Professional Will in their leadership style.
Let’s take a look at these two characteristics in action:
Personal Humility in Action
- No Ego
- Compelling Modesty
- Never Boastful of Achievements
- Calm Determination
- Channels Ambition into Organization, not Self
- Sets up Successors for Even Greater Success
- Takes Responsibility
- Doesn’t Blame Others
Professional Will in Action
- Exceptional Work Ethic
- Creates Superb Results
- Unwavering Resolve to Produce Long-Term Results
- Persevering Through Challenges
- Sets a High Standard
- Attributes Success to Others, not Self
To summarize, plenty of leaders have personal humility and plenty have the professional will to succeed; if you have the ability to combine these two traits you will THRIVE as a leader!
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