The Single Greatest Quality of Leadership

We had been graciously introduced as two leaders who should meet in person. I was told Rob Waggener was a man with a unique purpose and extraordinary leadership skills. The father of three teenage girls… I had immediate respect.

Rob was coming to Seattle and asked if we could meet for dinner. I promptly agreed and set reservations up at The Metropolitan Grill – The Best Steak in Town!

Rob is an impressive and impactful leader. He is the CEO of Foundations Recovery Network, an integrated diagnosis, treatment, research, and education center with facilities located in Memphis, Malibu, Palm Springs, Santa Monica, Atlanta, and Nashville. Their noble purpose is to "build lifetime relationships for long-term recovery."

Ironically, at the place with the best steak in town, Rob ordered Pork Loin and I ordered King Salmon. We both told our story and related our passions for life and leadership. There was an immediate affinity and chemistry as to our future purposes... perhaps partnering in some capacity for the greater good.

As our evening dinner was coming to a close, Rob asked me: "Steve what do you think is the single greatest quality of leadership?" What a great question! Pausing a moment, I went through my top qualities… "positive influence, integrity, trust, and vision."  Smiling, I asked Rob to please share his, "Steve, I think it's humility."

What struck me the most when he said that was he spoke it with true humility. Rob shared that each day he tries to model humility to his staff, his team, his colleagues, investors, and even with strangers he meets during travel. It was more than a breath of fresh air for me. It was a true leadership moment. A recalibration of my outlook on leadership and relationship to those I'm entrusted to serve.

Why is humility important for a leader?

  1. It keeps you grounded and focused on serving others.
  2. It reminds you that you are but one person, and everyone is important.
  3. It allows you to gain and keep the respect of those you are charged to lead.
  4. It's the foundation by which all other leadership qualities can thrive.
  5. It cuts down pride and keeps you approachable.
  6. It's always better to humble yourself than to be humbled.
  7. It tells others that you too are a man or woman on a journey, you have not arrived.

Can you take a moment today and check your humility? What adjustment can you make that will serve you and others?

"Humility is a true key to leadership and success. Successful people lose their way at times. They often embrace and overindulge from the fruits of success. Humility halts that trap. Humble people share the credit and the wealth, remaining focused and hungry to continue the journey of success." - Rick Pitino, NCAA Championship Coach

* A special thanks to Rob Waggener for the wonderful dinner conversation. I'm looking forward to a powerful and humble future!

Here's to humbly serving you!


For information on keynote presentations, team workshops, and one on one coaching, contact Steve at: or call: (425) 681-987

The purpose of Leadership Quest is to help professionals develop their personal leadership, vision and emotional intelligence. Everyday I strive to help leaders and teams achieve their desired goals in sales productivity, leadership, time maximization, and life-balance.