24 April 2014

Colin Powell’s 15 Rules of Leadership

Colin Powells 15 Rules of Leadership Copy Colin Powells 15 Rules of LeadershipDon’t you sometimes wish you had a leadership playbook, laying out the rules of the game?

Although maybe not a complete leadership playbook, the fifteen rules of leadership from Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State, helps us along the road in mastering the art and skill of leadership.

Colin Powell’s Leadership Rules

1.  It Ain’t As Bad As You Think, It Will Look Better In The Morning

When you are in the situation you are often so close to what is happening, your perception of the event gets skewed.  Give yourself some room and often some time to get distance from the situation.  In the morning it won’t look so bad.

2.  Get Mad, Then Get Over It

It’s not wrong to get mad sometimes.  In fact as a leader you have to get mad at things or situations even people.  The key is to get over it.  Don’t try and get even, it takes up valuable time.  Don’t hold a grudge; it takes up valuable emotional energy.  Resolve the issue and get over it.

3.  Avoid Having Your Ego So Close To Your Position That When Your Position Falls, Your Ego Goes With It

You are not your leadership position.  Leaders sometimes identify so closely with the leadership position they fill, who they are as a person gets defined by it.  If you find yourself here, you’re stepping on dangerous ground.  As a leader you have to be your own person apart from your leadership position.  Remember you only fill a position, the position is not you.

4.  It Can Be Done

Very few things in life can’t be done.  You cannot keep your eyes open while sneezing and you cannot lick your elbow.  These two things can’t be done.  When it comes to leadership, you can harness some of the most brilliant minds on the planet, together with some of the strongest willed people you can find.  Everything is possible.  It can be done!

5.  Be Careful Whom You Choose

Leaders lead people, many times with the help of a leadership team.  Choose this team carefully, based on strong leadership characteristics you identify in them.  Not everyone is for your team, even though he/she may exhibit the necessary characteristics.  They must fit into the rhythm and culture of your team as well.

6.  Don’t Let Adverse Facts Stand In The Way Of a Good Decision

The brave decision is often the one going against the facts.  Sometimes you must make the difficult decision, even though everything else is telling you not to.  A good decision is sometimes the counter intuitive one.

7.  You Can’t Make Someone Else’s Decisions, You Should Not Let Someone Else Make Yours

Personal leadership is non-negotiable.  If you can’t lead yourself you are not fit to lead others.  This means taking responsibility for your life, being proactive and taking the initiative.  You make your own decisions and you don’t leave it for others to make it on your behalf.

8.  Check Small Things

The devil is in the details; sometimes the solution to a sticky problem too.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, but don’t ignore it either.

9.  Share Credit

If you cannot share credit, rethink your leadership position.  Leaders accomplish nothing if not for the efforts and achievements of the people he/she leads.  Be generous with sharing credit and remember – it is the people you lead who enables you to achieve anything at all.

10.  Remain Calm

Good leaders don’t lose their cool.  This is a skill you have to master, especially if you are a bit of a hot head or get anxious easily.  As the leader its your job to guide them through tough times.  You have to instil calmness in the people you lead.  You cannot do it if you are not calm yourself.

11.  Be Kind

People respond to kindness.  The best is – it costs nothing.  Being kind does not mean you are weak, in fact it shows your strength of character as a leader.

12.  Have a Vision

People need to know where they are going.  Without communicating a strong vision to your people of where you are taking them, you will soon have very few, if any followers left.

13.  Be Demanding

Do not confuse kindness with the absence of demanding high performance from the people in your team.  You must demand the highest possible level of performance.

14.  Don’t Take Counsel From Your Fears Or Naysayers

Your fear will tell you it can’t be done.  Naysayers will look for reasons to give up.  Don’t believe either.

15.  Perpetual Optimism Is a Force Multiplier

Sometimes the only thing you will have is your optimism.  Optimism is infectious.  If you can get people optimistic about your cause, you can multiply your own efforts ten times over.

Do you have any more to add?

Written by Stephan De Villiers

Stephan De Villiers Colin Powells 15 Rules of Leadership

I have a passion for people & leadership development and since I discovered my mom’s old typewriter as a boy, I have written in some form or another.
I started blogging in 2010 and in August 2011, I started The Leadership Connexion with the aim to make the connection between Business, Leadership and Life. My professional experience span across various business disciplines, including Training, Project Management, Human Resource Management and Finance. I have a MBA degree, am co-founder a Industrial Water Treatment Company and lecture International Business at Monash SA University.
I am part of the Leadership for The International Mentoring Network (IMN), South African Chapter, where I am a regular Idea Studio Facilitator and Annual IMN Conference Speaker. I believe that the highest form of living is using what you are blessed with to add value to other people’s lives.

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About Stephan De Villiers

I have a passion for people & leadership development and since I discovered my mom’s old typewriter as a boy, I have written in some form or another.
I started blogging in 2010 and in August 2011, I started The Leadership Connexion with the aim to make the connection between Business, Leadership and Life. My professional experience span across various business disciplines, including Training, Project Management, Human Resource Management and Finance. I have a MBA degree, am co-founder a Industrial Water Treatment Company and lecture International Business at Monash SA University.
I am part of the Leadership for The International Mentoring Network (IMN), South African Chapter, where I am a regular Idea Studio Facilitator and Annual IMN Conference Speaker. I believe that the highest form of living is using what you are blessed with to add value to other people’s lives.

Comments

  1. Leilanie Casa says:

    God is Great! There are people like you out there, willing to share their knowledge. Am a new management officer in our company, i have been with the company for 17 years , i know i am still learning and i am so gratified being able to subscribe in your newsletter.
    Many thanks and all the best !

    lanie
    Philippines

  2. Wow! Great list, Stephan!
    It’s good to be reminded on #9. A lot of leaders often forget to “share credit”. Sharing credits is really good for the morale of the whole team!

    • Stephan De Villiers says:

      Hi James, thanks. I am glad it could add value. You are 100% correct about sharing credit. Getting well deserved credit is probably one of the most important motivators for people.

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