Many leaders are asked what the secret is to their success.  You will find a variety of answers, but there are at least three that will always be present.

These three characteristics provide a marked difference from others.

The first characteristic is humility.  True humility is a balanced self-awareness of your strengths and your weaknesses.  It combines the confidence in being able to contribute in meaningful ways to the team but also knowing that there are areas where you need to rely on the strengths of others.  Interdependence produces synergy, high productivity, and momentum for your team.

The second characteristic is teachability.   Being teachable means that we ask for advice, we seek new knowledge, and we surround ourselves with others who are wise.  It also requires that we have a hunger for learning that compels us to seek out new opportunities to grow.  Learning can come from our peers, community leaders, authors, and an array of sources.  Successful leaders can never be too busy to learn.

The third characteristic is the focus on serving others well.  You must care about the well-being of those you serve.  To do so requires us to ask for their input, listen to their response, and make key decisions based on what we have learned.   Whether through employee satisfaction surveys or one-to-one meetings, it is imperative to listen and probe as you seek to understand their perspective.

These three characteristics provide a strong foundation for leadership.  And while they sound simple, they are often lost in a calendar packed with meetings, reports, and urgent tasks.  Strong leaders must keep these on their radar and evaluate how they are doing in these key areas.  When was the last time you attended a workshop or read a book?  When was the last time you asked your team for feedback and really listened?  How would others evaluate your humility?  Conduct a self-assessment and then make the needed adjustments to be a successful leader.