Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Ten Commandments of Leadership

The month of resolutions post 1 of 3...

The Golden Rule:
Thou shall practice what they preach.
Note: This is in no way an attempt to demean the actual Ten Commandments (I take the Ten Commandments very seriously). This is just how I personally believe every business professional should conduct themselves utilizing parallels from the Ten Commandments. With that, I give to you, The Ten Commandments of Leadership:

1.       Thou shall respect their people
2.       Thou shall embrace their strengths
3.       Thou shall remain relatively transparent
4.       Thou shall seek to understand cultural and personal differences
5.       Thou shall accept challenges
6.       Thou shall welcome positive conflict
7.       Thou shall uphold integrity
8.       Thou shall seek to develop others
9.       Thou shall give back to the community
10.   Thou shall leave a legacy

Thou shall respect their people
People are the best asset to a company. People are the reason that a company is capable of doing what it does. Respect your people and do what is best the people employed by your company so that those people can see, feel, and enjoy those benefits.

Thou shall embrace their strengths
I have never been a fan of focusing on your weakness. I believe that one should focus on their strengths and what they are already good at doing, and develop those areas. This is not to say you should not spend time on building and developing on an area of weakness, but why focus on something that is not naturally innate to you? Focus on what you can do, and not on what you cannot do.

Thou shall remain relatively transparent
With all of the huge displays of lack of integrity and trustworthiness in business leadership today, there is a strong need to have a higher level of transparency.  People need to feel a high level of trust and comfort to remain engaged and productive. This is not to the detriment of the business, because all things that are said and done do not need to be repeated. However, the people you led deserve to know what is going on in the business in a true and honest fashion.

Thou shall seek to understand cultural and personal differences
With the world as globalized as it is today, people (especially Americans) need to really begin an intentional push to learn and understand other cultures. The world is getting smaller and flatter by the day, with each new technological advancement we are interacting with people are grandparents would have never dreamed possible. We need to understand their cultural beliefs and business practices to be successful in the future.

Thou shall accept challenges
Challenges build character, a good challenge will stretch your given abilities and increase confidence. Most people learn hands on, in fact 80% of learning is done hands on and 20% of learning in taught. Being in a challenging situation causes one to think on the fly, consider risk and consequences, and accept the fortitude to finish the challenge at hand. Until someone has been knocked down and force to consciously pick themselves up they do not know their own capabilities. 

Thou shall welcome positive conflict
Sometimes conflict can bring about new ideas and processes; there is nothing wrong with healthy conflict. Do not shy away from good and productive conflict. You never know what could become of it.

Thou shall uphold integrity
Integrity is the basis and foundation of every good leader. It is the ability to stand strong in ones convictions and core values. It is the ability to maintain professional relationships. Integrity is the core character of a good leader.

Thou shall seek to develop others
A good leader is only as good as the people that they surround themselves with; the people that make the success and impact of your team. The development of people is key in one’s ability to create a legacy as a leader. 

Thou shall give back to the community
Someone, at some point in time, in some place in your life told you that you could be somebody. Someone gave you that push that you needed to see success. Now, that you have achieved, or are on your way to achieving, you need to give that back. You need to be sure that the people who are coming up behind you hear, see, understand, and are as capable and more capable than you were and are.

Thou shall leave a legacy
One of the most amazing things that I have ever seen, and felt in small ways, was leaving behind a legacy. Leaving a place better than it was before you got there. The goal of a successful leader should be to leave behind a mark, to leave behind more understanding, more knowledge, better processes, and hope for the future of the organization. Everyone wants to be remembered...

Notice that there is not a “Thou shall not…”
I like to focus on what you can do versus cannot do. The god words of Yoda, 'Do or do not, there is no try."
Have a good day!

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