Last week I had lunch with an executive team following my speech at their leadership conference. One of them asked, “In your opinion, what is the most important leadership attribute?”
I said, “My answer will probably surprise you because it is a leadership attribute that nobody is talking about but every leader needs – I think it is meekness.”
He questioned me – “Meekness?!”
You see, meekness is crucial but it’s misunderstood.
Robert Wells said, “We don’t usually think of successful executives as meek; nor can we accept the idea of a “meek,” successful quarterback on a winning football team. In fact, to us, success in anything seems to involve quite the opposite. In the minds of many, meek means being submissive, passive, retiring, placid. Their mental image of a meek person is that of a compliant “doormat” who is so timid and unassertive that he accomplishes nothing, seeks nothing, and contributes nothing to the world in which he lives.”
I lived in Portugal for two years and learned to speak the language. In Portuguese the word for meek is Manso and it doesn’t mean week, it means strong but under control.
The actual definition of meekness is power under control.
Leaders who are meek are knowledgeable and skilled, yet they are approachable. Meek leaders ask questions, listen and receive feedback. Meek leaders are proactive rather than reactive. They control their emotions and use them productively. They build relationships and connection. They are charismatic and engaging. They are humble and constantly learning. They are solution thinkers and vision creators because they are meek.
Meekness is power under control & meek leaders are powerful.
If there was one leadership attribute worth pursuing in my opinion it would be one that nobody is talking about but every leader needs: Meekness