The most important character traits of a leader who embraces the principles and values championed in this book are humility; the willingness to give up power; courage; integrity; and love and passion for the people, values, and mission of the organization.
Humility is at the core of a leader’s heart. Humility is understanding who you really are, regardless of your title or education, your wealth or status. Humility underlies the impulse to make others do better.
Being a leader is like being a good point guard in basketball. In Pat Conroy’s book My Losing Season, he describes the joyful role of a playmaker who makes everyone else on the team perform better than even the team members thought was possible.“I wanted to luxuriate in the waters of pure and free-floating human joy,” he wrote. Conroy was not the best shooter or the best defender or the best rebounder. He did not make decisions for his teammates. But he was their leader. He served his teammates and made them better.
“Love” is not a word used much in the rough-and-tumble corporate world, perhaps because it sounds soft and sentimental. But as Max De Pree says in Leading Without Power, “We are working primarily for love.” Love prompts us to visit our employees around the world. Love makes us want to work extra time. Love pushes us to do whatever it takes to help others succeed. Love forgives mistakes and binds up the hurt and frustrated.
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