A leader who is always looking for credit will soon be a solo performer. No team will follow a selfish leader for any length of time. The team may establish a good work regimen and perform well, but unless the members respect their leader, it will not excel.

The best leaders display that seldom-seen virtue called humility. They discover real worth in terms of their ability to generate team excellence, not personal recognition. Here’s a snapshot of a great leader, a “big man” with a small ego.

Great leaders don’t care who gets the credit as long as the job gets done. Actions take precedence over accolades. Goals are more important than gold. Ribbons are incidental to right behavior. Great leaders don’t draw attention to themselves; they express appreciation for the contributions of others.

Great leaders are willing to put the mission ahead of their personal agenda. They’ve discovered the greater joy of giving their lives for something worthwhile. The purpose, mission, and objectives of the organization are paramount, while the personality and personal achievement of the leader are secondary. Good leaders know that what they have done as individuals is far less important than what they can accomplish with and through others.

Great leaders are quick to forgive. Small-minded people hold grudges; big people forgive and forget. Little people nurse insults and look for revenge; humble people let bygones be bygones. All great leaders are big people. They earn respect, but never demand it. They avoid petty squabbles and develop thick skins.

Great leaders are gratified by the achievements of others. All good leaders realize that they themselves can never accomplish all they dream about; others must help carry out their vision. So they invest, encourage, train, and enable them to succeed. The best leaders realize that there’s plenty of success to go around, and they help those around them reach for the stars.

Great leaders give credit where it’s due. They know that they are highly skilled, yet they realize that their success depends on the contribution of others. They know that there are no “little people” in the organization; every person’s contribution is significant. They’re quick to encourage and lavish with praise. Good leaders know how to say “Well done,” and they say it often.

Enjoying great success does not depend on having a great ego. In fact, the opposite is almost always true. Those who think the most of themselves are usually respected little by others. Do you want to advance your goals? Learn to put others first.

 – Stan Toler