What are the Principles of Leadership and how to develop them?

Introduction: Leaders help themselves and others to do the right things. Where don’t we feel the importance of leadership? In any community? Political group? Any types of the team? Any Country? Everywhere we feel the need for leadership. A leader shows ways to his fellows for any definite task and helps in any task difficulty. In this article, we will discuss the principles of leadership and how to develop them.

What is Leadership?

Leadership is the method of motivating a group to accomplish an objective. A leader sets the goal and brings something new.  

According to Maxwell-

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

Former U.S President Dwight D. Eisenhower said

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

The word leadership brings different images in front of us. Like

  • A country leader seeks the welfare of a country.
  • An explorer seeks the right path for the rest of his group members.
  • A CEO seeks more development to climb to the top.

A leader knows the right way and led his people towards the path. We must know the difference between a leader and a boss. A boss merely orders his stuff but a leader orders and shows the way how to go through. So, a leader has followers and shows his followers the right path to go through.

What are the principles of leadership?

Principles of Leadership are the set of actions that leaders implement to be successful. How well an organization performs is directly related to how effectively the leader leads his employees. There are so many leadership styles, and one may not apply to the other. Each leader may have a unique style. Some Principles of Leadership are inherent, and some are learned from others. Some are natural leaders; some learn how to lead. But some common principles are found in leaders, or some common principles should learn to be a successful leader. Those are-

1. Balanced Ambition

2. Set the example

3. Having Solid Values

4. Embracing Ambiguity and uncertainty

5. Promoting Diversity

6. Listening to Your Employees  

7. Praising in Public and Criticize in private

8. Making Sound and Timely Decision

9. Work Collectively

10. Knowing your People and Looking out for their Well Being.

11. Ensuring that Tasks are Understood Supervised, and Accomplished

12. Keeping people Informed

13. People Management

14. Courage

15. Focusing on Change, not Fame

16. Being updated and use new Technology

17. Being Human and Admit mistakes

18. Improving yourself

19. Being Technically and Tactically Proficient

20. Developing a Sense of Responsibility among Stuff

21. Helping Future Leaders

Now have a look at the details of the above points.

1. Having a Balanced Ambition

How precious is the ambition for any success in life? Or is it devastating? Don’t be afraid of being ambitious about your goals.   

“Hard work never stops. Neither should your dreams.” -Dwayne Johnson. 

“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”-Bill Bradley.

“A man without ambition is like a beautiful worm-it can creep, but it cannot fly.”-Henry Ward Beecher. 

So? Ambition is the fuel that drives you forward. Without ambition, nobody can reach out on the top. 

No, there should not be any ambition without reality. Of course, your ambition must be based on reality. A leader should be ambitious based on reality; there should not be any fear of losing. So what we got? A leader must be balanced ambitious.

2. Set the Example

A leader is always led by setting an example. He knows the difference between a boss and a leader. He not only tells people what to do but also shows them how to do it. He works as a role model for his employees. Stuff will not only hear what they expected to do, but they also see.

“We must become the change we want to see.” -Mahatma Gandhi.

3. Having Solid Values

Their values and character identify leaders. The true leader’s values are shaped by personal beliefs, which developed through lifetime experience, study, and communication. Values identify a leader’s morality.

4. Embrace Ambiguity and Uncertainty

In business, change is inevitable. There is nothing like a constant in business. A leader embraces ambiguity and goes through it intelligently. He knows how to handle the situation. 

Clara Gaymard, president and CEO of GE France, said in a Focus Magazine interview that

“If you are not able to manage ambiguity, and you need to understand everything before you start doing anything, you narrow everything and reduce your options and possibilities. This will not work in future.” 

The Focus Magazine article written by Tracey Keys Identified eight principles to help future leaders to control and to benefit from ambiguity:

  1. Instead of looking outside of the box, get rid of the boxes.
  2. Think both in terms of outsider-in and inside-out.
  3. Focus on root causes instead of symptoms.
  4. Approach things through two-directional thinking.
  5. Focus on networks/relationships instead of transactions.
  6. Collaborate and co-create
  7. Align purpose and profit
  8. Steer away from complacent compliance.

5. Promoting Diversity

For any organization, employees from different fields are essential to be successful. It is inevitable for any new idea to make changes. If there are the same background’s employees, then almost the same ideas may come. Nowadays people work through the internet from a different country. This is very important for any organization. 

“A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.”-Sundar Pichai. 

A report on inclusive decision making by Clover Pop showed good results: inclusive teams made better business decisions up to 87% of the time. And decisions made and executed by diverse teams delivered 60% better results. Why? Cause diversity is valuable.

“We are building products that people with very diverse backgrounds use, and I think we all want our company makeup to reflect the makeup of the people who use our products.” -Sheryl Sanberg. 

Over time, we have noticed several unfortunate mistakes made by a team that may have lacked diversity-like the time H&M posted an ad featuring a black child in a “Coolest Monkey in the jungle” hoodie or several of Burger king’s racially offensive ads. Without diverse voices, it happens.

6. Listening to your Employees

Leaders should listen to their employees. This doesn’t mean that he accepts everything that they say. If he listens to his employees, they will take the organization more heartily. They will find trust in you and which is important for any organization. 

A leader should hear his employees, both emotionally and rationally. Emotionally means how they feel when they say anything. Rationally means understanding the speech logically.

A leader praises his employees who do good in front of other team members and criticize in private who fails to accomplish any task.

A leader praises his employees who do good in front of other team members and criticize in private who fails to accomplish any task.

7. Praise in Public Criticize in Private

You might have heard the phrase “praise in public and criticize in private.”-Vince Lombardi. 

A leader praises his employees who do good in front of other team members and criticize in private who fails to accomplish any task. Thus the official environment will be comfortable.

8. Making Sound and Timely Decision

The basement of any leadership is making a sound decision. Here are two points. The decision must be sound and timely.

A decision is sound when there is no major obstacle to implementation, and employees accept eagerly. Feeling hesitant in making any decision can negatively affect his staff. 

Techniques to develop this:

  • Developing a logical and orderly thought process by practicing estimates of the situation.
  • Decisions should be taken through foresightedness.
  • Take your stuff’s opinion.
  • Consider the effect of your decision on the staff.

9. Working Collectively

There are a lot of benefits to working collectively. Leaders of different organizations can work collectively, sharing each other’s strategies, information, and success without affecting healthy competition. 

A leader should take advantage of working collectively.

10. Knowing Employees and Looking out for their well being

A leader must know what his employees like to do, what they do, what obstacles they face, and how they contribute to the team’s success.

Make sure that you care for them. Nowadays, employees want job security, modern facilities. A good leader tries to give them what they deserve.

11. Ensuring that Tasks are Understand Supervised, and Accomplished

It is essential to ensure that tasks are understood by the employees, supervised, and accomplished by a leader. 

A leader should give clear, concise orders that cannot be misunderstood. By supervision, make sure that these orders are properly executed.

Before you expect from your staff, make sure that they know what is expected of them. 

The most important part of this principle is the accomplishment of the task. To develop this principle, you should:

  • Issue every order as if it were your own
  • Encourage staff to ask questions about the given task
  • Question them if there is any misunderstanding
  • Supervise the execution of the task properly

12. Keeping People Informed

To promote efficiency and morale, a leader must inform his staff what is running and why any definite task needs to be done. 

Informing your staff makes them feel that they are part of the organization. Inform employees and perform better. To inform your employees means ensuring that the staff have enough information to accomplish their task properly and inspire their initiative, enthusiasm, loyalty, and convictions. 

The ways to apply this are:

  • Explain why any task needs to accomplish and the Plan whenever possible.
  • Be alert about the spread of rumors; stop them with the truth.
manage people by leadership

Most importantly, a leader needs to motivate and encourage their followers both directly and indirectly.

13. People Management

There is no leader without followers. So a leader needs to know how to work with others on a one-to-one and team basis. 

Most importantly, a leader needs to motivate and encourage their followers both directly and indirectly. 

The most important principle for a leader is how to delegate people. Smart delegation helps people to remain motivated. Some obstacles may come, like workloads and ensuring that everyone is given opportunities to help them develop. 

A leader should know how to build and manage a team, recruit effectively, and bring people ‘on board’ through induction processes.

14. Courage and Patience

Can we imagine a leader without courage and patience? These are the essential principle for any leader. What do we see in the historical leaders? 

They were courageous, patient, and ready for any situation. Nelson Mandela, a social rights activist, politician, and philanthropist of South Africa, served 27 years in jail at the brutal Robben prison from 1964-1990. Was it possible without courage and patience? 

No, right? So this principle is essential to be a leader.

15. Focusing on change, not fame

A leader’s defined vision should focus on change, not fame. He should not run after fame but bring change to society. 

A true leader works hard to develop more, and success will come consequently. It’s all about changing and empowering the employees and growing as a leader. If a leader runs after money, he will definitely fail as a leader. He may have money but not respect. 

This doesn’t mean that you will stop thinking big, but it’s about focusing on the cause. Think about great leaders like Bill Gates, who wanted to change society to do something new. Bill Gates started the Microsoft company business in 1975 with partner Allen who became the world’s largest personal software company and changed the world. 

Estee Lauder well said on this topic that-

“I never dreamed about success; I worked for it.”

16. Being updated and Using New Technology

A leader must embrace technology as a part of his leadership strategy. As technology develops, a leader may take advantage of using new technology. He may keep behind his competitors by using new technologies. 

Harnessing new technology won’t be an easy task as a leader; it requires enough time to understand these technologies’ opportunities and challenges. 

Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, wrote about the leadership principles required during the fourth Industrial Revolution in the article Schwab said: 

“for a prosperous future, we must ask how all of us, and the technological systems we design and build, can serve the proper ends and not be confined to the means. Our efforts must focus on the impact of the fourth industrial revolution on human beings, society, and the environment, and not just focus on technological progress or economic productivity.” 

Schwab identified four keys future leader should focus on:

  1. Prioritizing systems instead of technologies.
  2. Empowering societies and avoiding a fatalistic and deterministic view of progress.
  3. Prioritizing futures by design instead of default and focusing on collaboration.
  4. Include values as a key future of new technology.

17. Being human and admitting mistakes

A true leader admits mistakes and doesn’t mean that he cannot do it, but it means he is on the right track. Just accept your responsibility and move on, and you are a great leader. 

A weak leader does not admit his own mistake, and it defames him. Your followers will learn this great value and will try to mirror it in their life. 

Some techniques to go through this principle are:

  • Seek a variety of leadership positions that will give you experience in accepting responsibility in different fields.
  • Stand up for what you think is right. Have courage in your convictions.
  • Carefully evaluates employees’ failure before taking any action.

18. Improving Yourself

A leader needs to know him and seek self-improvement, and it will be possible by using leadership traits. Try to know your strengths and weakness through leadership traits.

A leader can improve him through the following points:

  • Make a self-assessment to determine your strong and weak personal qualities.
  • Seek advice from the elders.
  • Read the story behind the success and failure of leaders.
  • Develop a true interest in people.
  • Learn the art of effective writing and speech.
  • Can have a course on your concerning topic.
  • Can read books concerning the topic.

19. Being technically and tactically proficient

Technical and tactical proficiency can be earned from books and training. To develop this leadership principle, you should:

  • Know what is expected from you, then spend time on becoming efficient at those things.
  • Study and notice the actions of capable leaders.
  • Manage some time to spend with technically and tactically proficient people.
  • Try to get feedback from superiors, peers, and subordinates.

20. Develop a sense of Responsibility among the Employees

Another way to show your staff that you are interested in their welfare is to give them professional development opportunities. 

Assigning tasks and delegating authority leads to confidence and respect for leaders and staff. It also encourages staff to work heartily. 

To develop this principle, you should:

  • Provide clear well thought out orders
  • Give your subordinates opportunities to perform duties normally performed by senior staff.
  • Give advice and help them when needed.
  • Be prompt and fair in backing subordinates.

21. Helping Future Leaders

Good leadership is always appreciated. Part of being a great leader is to make sure that there is someone else to take responsibility when necessary. 

Thinking in this way is a strong leadership trait. A true leader identifies talent, nurture talent, and mentor how to become a leader. Here is a quotation that perfectly describes this is- 

“I start with the promise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” -Ralph Nader

Conclusion: Leaders are the path to shower the changer of any society, community, or the world. So, great leaders’ contributions are remembered by the people with due respect from time to time. 

There can be differences in different leaders’ styles, but they all bring changes to people’s welfare. 

I will conclude with a quotation by Lao-Tzu, an ancient philosopher and founder of Taoism-

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim is fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

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