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10 Leadership DO's!

Since leadership is always a hot topic, we wanted to share this spot-on article from about leadership--we put our own little spin on it, but it was too good not to pass along.

You know that good leaders aren't made just by putting a C in front of someone's title, or slapping "Manager" or "Supervisor" at the end of it. There are people who wind up in leadership positions that might not have any business being there, and there are leaders you've worked with and that made you think, "Working with that person was one of the highlights of my career." So what can leaders today do to be the latter and not the former? Here are the 10 Commandments of Leadership...


1. Stay Optimistic

Not every day is sunshine and rainbows, but your team doesn't need to know that. Spreading doom and gloom around the team won't increase productivity or morale--it's your job to worry about what you need to worry about and shelter your team so they can do their job and not worry. If you have tough news, sit on it if you can and think about the best way to deliver it.


2. Share the Direction

Keep your goals and end-state front and center to the team so they can see and feel what they're working toward. Paint the picture for them and inspire them to do what they do best.


3. Plan the Work and Work the Plan

Plans never go the way we hope--but planning enables us to adjust better on the fly when we need to. Take a note from Dwight Eisenhower: "Plans are nothing; planning is everything." Help your team plan for the day, the week, the month--do what you need to do to look ahead as a team and get on the same page about a project or goal.


4. Have Enough of What You Need

Check with your team to make sure they have the right resources--people, tools, technology--to do what they need to do. We know no one lives in an ideal world and we're perpetually low on dollars, hands, and time, but how will you help your team work with what they have?



One of a leader's biggest job is communication and connecting the dots--but that's hard to do if you don't close your mouth and open your ears. If you need to take your turn on a soapbox or coach an employee, don't start until you've heard and understood what the other person is feeling and saying. And if you think you're 100% right and they're 100% wrong, now's not the best time to speak (or act).

6. Have an Agenda for Every. Single. Meeting.

Seriously. This is non-negotiable. If you don't think you need an agenda, then you don't need to meet. The end. Unless you want to waste everyone's time and not get anything done...

7. Praise in Public, Coach in Private

Don't bring up a mistake or dropped ball to a team member in front of the rest of the team. If there's an issue, deal with it behind the scenes with the necessary parties. Embarrassment and hurt feelings don't make friends or good followers, so do what you can to save the person and stop the behavior.


8. Don't Ask Your Team to Do Something You Wouldn't

This one speaks for itself--if you there is a task or behavior that you haven't done in the past or wouldn't do right now alongside your team, then think more about what you're asking of them.


9. Don't Be a Bottleneck

Learn how and when to delegate work and decisions effectively so your team can get stuff done without you--progress will be swifter and everyone will be happier.


10. Give Credit and Take Blame

When a project or effort goes well, stand behind your team and push them into the spotlight. If something goes poorly, shelter the team and take the blame. This is a surefire way to earn respect and commitment from your team members. It's tough to do, but no one ever said leading others was easy.

Sinikka headshot 2017

About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day.

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