The No. 1 Leadership Trait You Really Need to be Successful

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Most workplace disputes and disasters can be traced back to one thing: a lack of leadership.

So, what’s the absolute No. 1 most important leadership trait in the history of the universe? Last week, we posed the following question for your consideration:

What’s the absolute No. 1 leadership trait in the history of the universe?

After more than 300 votes, here’s how you responded:

  • Communication skills (78 percent);
  • Humility (15 percent);
  • Charisma (6 percent);
  • Intelligence (2 percent);
  • Height (1 percent);
  • Smooth Dance Moves (1 percent).

Believe it or not, it’s all about humility

While as a ridiculously over-tall person I believe that “Height” is a much-overlooked and critically important leadership trait, the correct answer is … humility.

That may seem 100 percent counter-intuitive when you picture today’s stereotypical CEO. But according to various workplace gurus (including Jim Collins and the research team behind the landmark business book Good to Great, as well as recent studies published in the Academy of Management Journal and Organization Science), it’s true.

Leaders who are truly (1) servant-hearted; (2) able to put others and the organization first ; and, (3) willing to listen with humility to other points of view are the ones that people will follow.

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Thus, if you want to win in today’s hyper-competitive world of work you should (1) hire, promote and retain people who fit that description; and, (2) strive to fit it yourself.

So, I humbly suggest that you ask yourself this question today: Do others see humility in me?

If you want to be a truly great leader, the answer should be a resounding “YES.”

This was originally published on Manpower Group’s Employment Blawg.

Mark Toth has served as Manpower Group North America's Chief Legal Officer since 2000. He also serves on the company’s Global Leadership Team, Global Legal Lead Team and North American Lead Team. Mark is recognized as an expert on legal issues affecting the U.S. workplace and is frequently quoted in media from The Wall Street Journal to 60 Minutes. He is also a past Chair of the American Staffing Association and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. Contact him at mark.toth@manpowergroup.com.

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