I subscribe to Fortune magazine for two issues: “Fortune 500” and “Best Advice I Ever Got.” From this year’s issue, I love what Sam Palmisano , Chairman and CEO, IBM has to say.

Some of the best advice I ever received was unspoken. Over the course of my IBM career I’ve observed many CEOs, heads of state, and others in positions of great authority. I’ve noticed that some of the most effective leaders don’t make themselves the center of attention. They are respectful. They listen. This is an appealing personal quality, but it’s also an effective leadership attribute. Their selflessness makes the people around them comfortable. People open up, speak up, contribute. They give those leaders their very best.

I have to agree. I have learned best by watching my mentors at their best. I have seen them: “take one for the team;” know the difference between an incident and a pattern at review time; roll up their sleeves and lick envelopes while on the phone with CNN; and, best of all, give credit when credit it due.

What’s the best advice you ever got?