50 Rules for Being a Great Leader
Becoming a great leader isn’t something that happens overnight, but it can be achieved through discipline, hard work and a commitment to improvement through experience. Great leaders aren’t born, as some people suggest; instead, they are shaped over time. And, while what makes a “great” leader in one application doesn’t always apply to others, there are some general rules that all great leaders follow.
If becoming a great leader in your own business or organization is your goal, these 50 rules are a good place to start:
Listen to your team
Communicate as efficiently as possible
Sometimes saying nothing is better than saying just anything.
Be an example
Be the type of person you want your team members to be.
If you aren’t passionate about your business, you’re in the wrong business.
Make firm decisions
Identify mentors and role models
Find people you can look up to and learn from, and follow them closely.
Interfere only when necessary
If you trust your team to do good work, don’t interfere unless absolutely necessary.
Know your limits
Don’t extend yourself beyond your means.
Know your strengths
If you’re good at resolving disputes, step in and resolve them as often as possible.
Know your weaknesses
If there’s something you’re not good at, admit it, and work on it.
Don’t make excuses
If you make a mistake, take ownership of it and don’t pass the blame to someone or something else.
Accept the unforeseen
You can’t control or predict everything.
Choose your partners carefully
Work only with people you can count on and trust.
Commit yourself to being a good person and giving back to the community when possible.
Meet new people all the time
Take every opportunity to expand your network and expose yourself to new experiences and perspectives.
Stay in touch with your emotions
Temper your reactions
Hold back your reactions until you have a moment to clarify your internal thoughts and feelings.
Take the time to have fun with your team.
Before making a decision, know the pros and cons -- do your homework.
Think everything through
Never exclusively trust your instincts or first reactions.
Choose your team carefully
Hire only those you can trust to get the job done (and to get along with others, as well).
Prioritize your team
Your team is everything. Give them whatever they need to succeed.
Don’t get big-headed about your wealth, influence or position as a leader.
Related: 10 Habits of Ultra-Likable Leaders
Everyone makes them.
Listen to dissenting opinions, and be fair.
Make time for what’s important
Read as much as you can, and take classes whenever you have the opportunity.
Work on improving your approaches, your skills and your processes constantly.
Never give up
Don’t throw in the towel when a little extra persistence could put you over the edge.
Transform your methods when necessary
Cut your losses when necessary
If you’re fighting a losing battle, retreat and start again somewhere else (or in a new way).
Learn from your mistakes
Try not to make the same mistakes twice
Ground everything with data
Back up all your decisions, opinions and thoughts with hard, objective facts and evidence.
Don’t ignore signs of stress
Stress is real and can interfere with your ability to lead. If it starts setting in at abnormal levels, take action to reduce or relieve it.
Let your team know what they’re doing well and what needs further improvement.
Trust, but verify
Trust your team to get things done, but always follow up to make sure the work is completed.
Let people know they can trust you, and open your door to anybody who needs it.
Treat everyone equally
Don’t play favorites; it breeds resentment and makes you appear immature as a leader.
Don’t pursue close personal relationships with the team
Be on friendly terms, but don’t try to be best friends with everybody. You’re a leader, first and foremost.
Get the team together
If someone helps you, make it your responsibility to pay back the favor -- even if it’s years later.
Don’t burn bridges
Stay in touch
If team members leave or change roles, stay in contact with them.
Don’t sacrifice your personal life
Your personal life is necessary to retain your own mental health. Never sacrifice it for the sake of leadership or professional responsibilities.
Take advice with a grain of salt
Even with these 50 rules! Because nobody knows everything, and no one piece of advice applies to all situations.
Follow these rules
Follow these rules, trust your instincts and continually strive for self-improvement. Eventually, through your experiences and your efforts, you’ll become the type of leader most people only aspire to be.
Related: 10 Behaviors of Real Leaders