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“Level 5 leaders look out the window to apportion credit to factors outside themselves when things go well. At the same time, they look in the mirror to apportion responsibility; never blaming bad luck when things go poorly.”

Jim Collins, “Good to Great”

When I read this quote, I wondered about the person who doesn’t do this.  The person who looks in the mirror to give credit and looks out the window to give blame. Lots of words to describe that person came to mind, and the word “afraid” stood out in particular. Afraid of looking bad or someone else looking better. Afraid that a failure or mishap would be attached to his name. Afraid that the position or level of power she’s reached might slip through her fingers if she doesn’t look good enough. I feel sorry for that man or woman and also realize that I have been than man at different times in my life.

The truth is that all those fears are baseless; they’re downright lies we tell ourselves. As a leader, the truth is that protecting your team by deflecting the blame to yourself solidifies your place as leader in their eyes. The truth is that owning up to your own mistakes builds credibility and trust. The truth is that your position and influence has nothing to do with looking good and everything to do with how you serve and sacrifice for your people. The enemy of humility is fear. Learn to show up FEARlessly every day and ready to think of yourself less (not less of yourself) and you’ll release all sorts of commitment, creativity, innovation and love from your people towards you and the organization.

What fears dictate some of your decisions?

What’s one step towards humility you will make today?

Jeff HarmonJeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing servant leaders while helping them translate their strategies into actionable plans that drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

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