Ten Straight Forward Principles of Leadership and Living
Darrel L. Hammon
Have you wondered how to sift through all of the leadership material printed to discover the basics of leadership? Here are ten straight forward principles of leadership and living to help guide you.
For the past several years, we have been continuously confronted with the phrase: “You need to learn leadership skills.” Or “Take a Leadership class.” And then when we research what it means to be a leader, we encounter numerous books and articles about what a leader is or should be. I have personally discovered that following ten “Principles of Leadership and Living” encompass the majority of the leadership skills that we all seek.
Principle #1: Be kind, gracious, and compassionate. In our society today, it seems that kindness has somehow seeped out of our lives. We are way too hard on each other and especially ourselves. When you show kindness, graciousness, and compassion, people see you differently and act differently around you. They connect more readily with you.
Principle #2: Be a vigorous, positive participant in everything you do. As a former teacher, I discovered students who participated more learned the most. Sometimes, it is just easier to sit back and let things happen. But being a vigorous participant will show your boss and your colleagues that you do want to accept more responsibility.
Principle #3: Don’t make a fuss over small things. One of the challenges many people face is that they see the minutia, focus on that, and then fail to see the bigger picture. Yes, you need to take care of the minutia, the “things” in your life, but you also must keep focused on your goals, the bigger picture.
Principle #4: Remember who you are and why you are. One thing that happens to many people as they move up the ladder of success is that they fail to remember their roots. In essence, they forget who they are and change into something or someone that they are not, and people can see the difference. One must remember who you are and why you are doing anything. If you do, you stay ground and connected to those whom you need the most.
Principle #5: Develop a vision in your life. We hear this all the time, but it is true. We must develop our path and then stick to it. People complain about their lives, but when asked what are their goals or vision, they don’t have them. Thus, it is important—yes, even imperative—to “see afar off” to see what you really can achieve.
Principle #6: Chose well and wisely by setting goals and keeping them. Once your vision is in place, you need to create goals and objectives that are measureable and ones you can achieve. Once that vision is in place, you are on your way.
Principle #7: Seek leadership skills and be a leader in everything you do. Take note of good leaders: your bosses, your co-workers, your clergy, a mentor, or anyone that you consider a good leader. Read different books (check out your local library for good reads) about leadership. Don’t try to implement the skills all at once. Take one at a time and see what happens.
Principle #8: Strive to do your best, your very best. One of the leaders I admire most is Gordon B. Hinckley. He continually urged all of to do “your best, your very best.” But what is our very best? We must remember that everyone is different and possesses varying skill sets. You must decide on who you are (see Principle #4) and strive each day to become the best you can be.
Principle #9: Seek to better yourself through learning. It is one thing to say you want to be a better leader. The difference between someone who says it and someone who is hinges on the person who is constantly seeks learning. That learning doesn’t necessarily have to be in the classroom although there are great programs at your local community college or university on leadership. Reading and studying good leadership material will help you achieve your goals.
Principle #10: Always look for the good in everyone. This one may be the most important. When we look for the good in others, we tend to reach out instead of always focusing on ourselves. Remember, when we focus too much on ourselves, we forget about the big picture and what we are all about.
Overall, becoming and being a good leader takes work and consistency. The only way to become a good leader is begin doing what you know and seeking opportunities to adopt leadership skills.