My 10 Favorite Leadership Lessons

As I’ve noted in this space many times before,  I love practicing and studying the art of leadership.

In my 27 years in the business world, I’ve been fortunate enough to observe great (and not so great) leaders,  read many books about leadership, and gain many years of experience as a leader myself.

Through all this I’ve walked away with a ton of lessons about what makes a great leader, and I’ve enjoyed writing about many of them on this blog.

But 10 of them are my favorite leadership lessons – the ones that have “stuck” with me and are now a part of my daily practice.  The ones that I believe are critical to excellence in leadership.

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I present them in more detail below,  and I invite you to dig a little deeper and click through to my original post on each lesson.   After you do, let me know what you think, and if they resonate with you.  Let’s keep learning together!

Leaders must:

  1. Practice “Full Spectrum” management, where high performers get the recognition they deserve, AND underperformers either get coached or let go.
  2. Teach instead of just tell, by using repetition, consistency, plain English, common sense, and best of all, rolling up the sleeves and showing them how it’s done.
  3. Be an Enabler, not a Disabler, because if we can’t entrust someone with proper responsibilities commensurate with the job description, we simply shouldn’t hire them.
  4. Develop a Zen-like mantra of goals that permeate the minds of all your teammates, and watch great stuff happen.
  5. Avoid inertia at all costs – or risk heading in the wrong direction.  Provide the needed acceleration to propel a business forward, always.
  6. Trust the facts, for if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. As John Adams said, they are indeed “stubborn things”
  7. Understand that words alone don’t make the leader- proper presentation, attitude, inflection, cadence and structure are musts to inspire to action.
  8. Exhibit a blend of will and humility – we push hard knowing we don’t have all the answers, with a sense of decency, fairness and mindfulness.
  9. Know “the secret of work” for their team – the passion, the cause, and the fun that results.
  10. Be able to mix it up and do the unexpected, like break out in song at a staff meeting. Put in a memorable hook to go with your message.

Comments

  1. says

    Nice one. i must say that sums up all the qualities that a leader should possess in a nut shell and i like the fact that you kept it simple even after all the experience that you have gained in the biz world you still manage to keep it simple. i will apply these 10 key attributes in my life and i know i will succussed in my life if i apply this.

    Nice one.

  2. says

    Great article! Very concise and full of a lot of good information. Thank you for sharing this. I will be sending my network a link to this post (if you don’t mind of course).

    Best Regards!

  3. Liz Strauss says

    Bravo!

    This truly is the stuff from which a great book comes. I know because you had to live it to write it. You described the partner and I admire in every word. Thank you for making me better in all of these ways.

    Liz

  4. says

    Thanks, great article, simple and succinct. I would add that leaders need to show their passion, determination and vulnerability to show that they are human too.

    Best,

    Keith

  5. says

    Thanks Wally for the honor (and the comment)!
    Liz, the feeling is mutual, my friend.
    Keith, passion is undoubtedly a key foundation to leadership success.

    Thanks to you all!
    Terry

  6. says

    Terry, I always enjoy (and learn from) your insights… trying to think about what hit me re: this particular post…I think we’ve seen much of this advice before, and yet you summarize it here so simply and with your own voice, and it feels new again. txs.

  7. says

    Great post! And extremely relevant.

    Loved points 2 & 3. And I feel that they are kind of inter-related.
    I have often noticed that some bosses have a really hard time delegating tasks, not because they don’t know who to delegate work to, but because they are not sure if the job will get done right. They just find it easier to do all of it themselves. But how much can one person do?
    Bosses need to start trusting the talent of they people who work under them. If they think someone is not doing the job right, they need to teach them how to do it and leave it at that.
    It is really suffocating and constricting when a boss doesn’t give enough of a free hand to his people. Employees don’t give in their best when they feel like all their actions are being controlled. So some amount of power and responsibility needs to be DELEGATED. And this can only be done when there is TRUST and RESPECT for every individual.

    - Sindoora (http://www.beyondhorizons.in)

Trackbacks

  1. Your Alaka‘i Language of Leadership…

    I read this at Terry Starbucker’s blog recently:
    Lesson 7:
    Understand that words alone don’t make the leader – proper presentation, attitude, inflection, cadence and structure are musts to inspire to action.
    —Terry Starbucker, My 10 Favorite Lea…

  2. Your Alaka‘i Language of Leadership…

    I read this at Terry Starbucker’s blog recently: Lesson 7: Understand that words alone don’t make the leader – proper presentation, attitude, inflection, cadence and structure are musts to inspire to action. —Terry Starbucker, My 10 Favorite Lead…

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