Selecting, Retaining, and Developing 
Executive Leaders and Teams

September 2016

Leadership Tips
  • Hiring - Use valid and reliable assessments that uncovers the unseen behaviors, attitudes, and habits that could result in a bad hire. The part of the iceberg under the water, that could not be seen, sunk the Titanic.
  • Derailment - The reality is that your peers are the best campaign endorsers for a promotion. Without strong and deep peer relationships, you have a higher probability of derailing. Spend time proactively building peer relationships.
  • Humility - The quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people. Merriam-Webster

I was listening to Vince Scully today on the radio when someone asked him what he will say at his final broadcast. Instead of boasting about being a legend, he spoke about other famous announcers and then said "with each of them the game of baseball continued. Once I am gone the game of baseball will continue." Vince Scully also said that "I am an ordinary guy who had a special opportunity."

Listening to Vince Scully's response, I was reminded that being a leader requires staying humble. Without the discipline of staying humble, it is easy to become arrogant and "a legend in our own mind." Since arrogance precedes the fall, those leaders who are not able to overcome their arrogance derail. Throughout history we have examples where arrogance fueled a downfall.

But staying humble takes work and courage. Here are five principles to stay humble:
  1. Aggressively seek feedback
    - Let others tell you about your strengths and weaknesses. Volunteer to participate in a 360 feedback process.
  2. Model continuous improvement - S
    hare with others what you learned going back to school, taking classes, attending lectures, and even reading books. Be insatiably curious.
  3. Avoid "being the smartest person in the room"
    syndrome - Ask questions of others. Even if you know the answer, allow others to speak while actively listening. Socrates acknowledged being the wisest by knowing the "depth of his own stupidity."
  4. Stop micromanaging
    - Let people do their jobs. Avoid needing to control every micro step or action other people take to complete a task. Be courageous to allow others to learn on their own by doing their job without micromanaging.
  5. Give to Get - Praise, compliment, and recognize others. Encourage others successes while nurturing their strengths.
"Good to Great-Why Some Companies
Make the Leap...and Others Don't
by Jim Collins
This book is a classic! If you haven't already read it, I strongly suggest you make it high on your list of books to read. If you have read it, consider reading it again.

According to Collins, those companies that thrived and were successful made the journey from good to great were lead by Level 5 leaders. A level 5 leader "builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will."

Here are a few characteristics of Level 5 Leaders:
  1. Level 5 leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and focus on building a great company.
  2. Level 5 leaders are seriously ambitious. However, their ambition is first and foremost for the organization, business, or institution, not themselves.
  3. Level 5 leaders are a study in duality: modest and willful, humble and fearless. In essence humility + will=Level 5 leadership.
  4. Level 5 leaders have "ferocious resolve." They believe and act with unwavering determination to "do what must be done."
  5. Level 5 leaders looks into the mirror instead of out the window when there are poor results, obstacles, or simply bad luck. They take responsibility instead of blaming others.


"The Best Leaders are Humble Leaders"
Harvard Business Review

Even though humility and being humble has been under the purview of philosophers, scientific research has demonstrated the value of being a humble leader.

In a Harvard Business Review article entitled "The Best Leaders are Humble Leaders" described a study of 1500 workers from all over the world. One of the results was that employees who perceived altruistic behavior from managers reported being more innovative, suggesting new product ideas and ways of doing work better. They were more likely to report engaging in "team citizenship behavior," going beyond the call of duty for an absent colleague.


Staying humble is not easy. It requires discipline, determination, and dedication. Staying humble requires being less "I" focused and more "you" focused. The most effective way to stay humble is to remember Vince Scully's philosophy that "the game will continue without me." 

In This Issue
Solving People and Management Issues

The Heller Group focuses on coaching for senior level executives.  We facilitate change within an organization that results in more effective leadership,  increased productivity, innovative thinking, and improved employee morale and retention.

Learn more about The Heller Group, Inc. at
Dr. Bruce Heller

Dr. Bruce Heller, founder of The Heller Group, Inc., has over 20 years experience consulting with managers and executives on executive education, leadership development, and organizational.   


He is an adjunct professor at Southwestern Law School. 


Dr. Heller is a consulting psychologist and member of the American Psychological Association Consulting Psychology Division. Dr. Heller holds a Ph.D. and Masters Degree in Education from the University of Southern California.  


Dr. Heller is the author of The Prodigal Executive-How to Coach Executives Too Painful to Keep, Too Valuable to Fire.  

Read the book.