In Leadership, It’s the Little Things



“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”

~Colin Powell

In the past several months, our organization has added to our own leadership team and has worked with several clients to kick off or wrap up their leadership programs. In contemplating this focus on leadership, it made me pause to consider what I think might be a key or critical leadership trait. There are many to consider, and many people have written or spoken on the subject.

One of my favorite leaders is Colin Powell, and I think the quote above represents my favorite leadership trait: excellence. It also highlights the fact that large-scale success is usually built on many small things. You might be familiar with Powell’s 13 rules for leaders that he highlights in his book, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership. His #8 rule, “Check small things,” reminds leaders that they need to pay attention to the details and get into the trenches occasionally. For a quick read of all 13 of Powell’s rules (and they are worth taking a look at), this article provides a good summary.

What trait do you believe is the key to being a great leader?

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