In a recent interview, I was asked to discuss the foundational principles of leadership. While I believe there are several universal concepts or principles of leadership, here are my top three.
Principles of Leadership
If you start to consider what the universal principles of leadership are or might be, it becomes an individual consideration. One person might say, “I need someone who is a friend.” Someone else might say, “I don’t need a friend. I need a visionary.” So, my argument would be that you have to determine the fundamentals based on the individual or the group that you’re attempting to lead.
However, I think honesty is one of the universal principles of leadership — I don’t care who you’re trying to lead, influence or impact. People will not follow you if they cannot believe you. They will also not follow you if they cannot believe in you. By that I mean it’s not just that you are honest, but your motives should also be pure. In doing so, people can believe that you’re not going to take advantage of them; they can believe that you’re not going to lead them some place that would be perilous for them. You have to be honest and you have to be intentionally pure.
People will not follow you if they cannot believe you. They will also not follow you if they cannot believe in you.
The other thing is — you have to be respected. Unfortunately in this day and time, there are a lot of people who call themselves leaders or who find themselves in what would be traditionally a leadership position who are not very well respected — that is a problem. They may occupy a position, but how much influence do they have over time with a broad mass of people? I believe you have to be honest. I think you have to be intentional in terms of leading people to where they want and need to be, and then I think you also have to be respected.
All three of those — honesty, pure motives, respect — I believe are universal principles of leadership.
Now, what would you say — what are your three top principles of leadership?
Here’s the second, more important, question — what do your people say?
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