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Leadership s 11 Principles

All functions of business operate on a grounding of principled actions and behaviors. So it is with leadership. These principles define the parameters for the leader's code of conduct. They become a framework through which decisions can be channeled and validated.

Eleven Principles of Leadership have been coded by management practitioners over decades. These have stood the test of time, survived assorted applications, and produced results. A list of the principles and their brief explanations follows.

1. Be proficient in all that you do. Followers expect leaders to be expert in the job level assigned. You can get success for a while on your looks, wit, and charm but sooner or later you must produce consistent, real time results.

2. Live your values. Don't get caught in the say/do gap trap. If you profess a value of honesty then act honest.

3. Know your people and look out for their welfare. Don't involve yourself in their personal lives. However, when an employee has a personal problem that soon overlaps into a performance problem and that is your problem. You have every right to require a person to seek professional help before it gets out of hand.

4. Keep people informed. The greatest single breakdown in organizational dynamics is the lack of information flowing between and among those who need it. Everyone on your team should know everything you know about a project.

5. Set the example. If you believe that workers should show up at work clean and groomed you set the example. Too many times we find supervisors at the start of a shift looking like the end of the shift.

6. Ensure the task is understood, supervised, and accomplished. Ask questions when you assign work. It is the only way you will know for sure that everyone is on the same page.

7. Train as a team. Sports teams practice together. Why shouldn't business teams do the same?

8. Make sound and timely decisions. A serious failure of leaders is to not decide. Foot dragging around making tough decisions is simply unacceptable.

9. Develop a sense of responsibility among subordinates. The only way people learn to be responsible is to be given the chance to be responsible. The leader then holds them responsible for being responsible. That's not a play on words.

10. Employ your work group in accordance with its capabilities. Don't burn out your team trying to look good. Know your limits. It is okay to stretch and reach but don't exceed your grasp. 11. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions. A leader who accepts responsibility scares others. Because most managers practice the daily duck and hide routine anyone who steps up to responsibility will go far in the organization.

In Summary These principles have performed well for those who understand and apply the back corners of the definitions. Use them as a template to test your leadership practices.
About Author Dr. Al Coke :

Al Coke is one of Canadian Management Centre's longest standing and popular facilitators. He brings over 40 years of leading, managing, training, teaching, and consulting across a wide range of businesses, industries, and countries.

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Article Added on Tuesday, May 22, 2007
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