The Most Important Trait for Success


What is the most important trait for success?

Do you know what separates the winners and the losers when it comes to leadership and succeeding?

It isn’t what you think.

I was listening to a podcast interview recently where Thom Rainer was interviewing John Maxwell, and Rainer asked Maxwell what is the most important leadership trait for success, and Maxwell replied, “Consistency.”

I had to rewind it.


If you ever read a biography about an athlete or watch stories on the Olympics about those who make it and win, what you will hear is the story of a person who got up early everyday, ate a strict diet, everyday. Did the same stuff, everyday. Practiced, practiced and practiced some more. They were consistent.

That isn’t exciting, sexy or anything. That isn’t about vision, team building, recruiting or fund raising.

Yet if you think about it, it fuels all of leadership.

It fuels vision. No one will follow you to that next great hill, that next great destination, if they don’t trust you and believe in you. They won’t follow you as far if you are new compared to having a track record. Are you consistent? If so, people will follow you further.

It fuels team building. People want to be a part of a team that has a great track record. They want to be with a leader that has been around and accomplished a lot. They are hesitant to follow someone with a lot of turnover on a team. They want someone – wait for it – consistent.

The same goes with recruiting.

Now comes fundraising. This is crucial in church leadership. Your ministry has a ceiling, and it comes from a variety of places, but one of those places is finances. The leaders who are able to raise the most money have a track record of handling money well. They have a track record of being in one place, having a strong team, strong vision, strong character.

They are consistent.

It fuels leadership.

It fuels success.

People may say a lot about you as a leader, but would they say you are consistent? Are you the same person everywhere?

Here’s something that can frustrate you as a leader. You want to start something new, and people don’t want to come along. You think it is them. They just don’t see what you see. They aren’t as spiritual, they don’t have big enough faith. We as leaders tell ourselves all kinds of things about why people don’t get on board with something, and the things we tell ourselves are always about the people.

What if you haven’t been consistent, and people are hesitant? What if the reason people don’t want to give is they aren’t sure you’ll complete the project and stay?

Leadership is vision casting, team building and all those things. But it starts and ends with character and consistency.