Politics, Religion, Arrogance, Humility and Leadership… The Most Important Trait of Great Leaders. 

By any measure this election cycle has been like no other. On both sides of the isle we’re seeing strong reactions against “the establishment.” Though there are a few exceptions, what has made headlines is extraordinary rhetoric, schoolyard name-calling, and plain arrogance… on both sides.

What is almost completely missing today in most of our leaders is the most important and counterintuitive character trait of great leaders.

Look at the great leaders throughout history – Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, and Jesus Christ – and you find at least one amazing common denominator:

Humility. A servant’s heart. 

Great leaders put others first, they sing the praises of their team, and they put themselves last.

A friend of mine’s sister worked for Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines for many years. To get the job she took a lower salary than she’d have made elsewhere with her skills. But she couldn’t fathom working elsewhere. Why? Herb made her feel awesome! He told her how great she was. He would hug her and say, “We could not do this without you.”

“Great leaders credit others when things go well and take responsibility when they don’t.”

I just returned from delivering two keynotes on a cruise for a Fortune 100 insurance company. Don Felder, legendary guitarist for The Eagles (and one of my guitar heroes) entertained. As world renowned as he was he never missed a chance to rave about his amazing band – not the Eagles, his band on the ship. That’s leadership.

Don Felder, who truly honored his band.
Don Felder, who truly honored his band.

Can you imagine any of our current political leaders in the highest offices really putting others first, shedding their narcissism, touting their teams over themselves? Not many. Unfortunately, humility rarely makes headlines; salaciousness does.

So… what does this mean for you?

Put others first. Give credit when you win, take responsibility when you don’t.

Here’s what I believe: By leading with humility, putting others first, the payoff you receive will exponentially exceed what you’d have gotten by blowing your own horn. 

Now, I will confess, there is one way I am arrogant: On behalf of my team. I have the best team ever! Sheila, my office manager for 12 years has been my rock of dependability, loyalty and unfaltering excellence.

Christa, my agent of more than four years fills my calendar and is hands down the best I’ve ever worked with.

Nicole, my personal assistant is SO smart, she let’s nothing slip, she truly owns what we do, and I can trust her to literally think for me.

Even Lisa, our part time assistant, could run a company if she wanted.

Truthfully, without my team I’d be playing for tips on Fremont Street, teaching possibility-thinking to Las Vegas tourists.

Don Felder (of The Eagles) and Mike Rayburn

Look, we are all leaders.

YOU… are a leader.

Lead with humility and people will follow you anywhere.

Live Truly, Truly Live,


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