My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

Leadership

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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.

Related: What Leadership Is -- And What It Is Not

If becoming a great leader in your own business or organization is your goal, these 50 rules are a good place to start:

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

1. Listen to your team

Rule one. Always listen to what your team has to say, even if you don’t like it.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

2. Communicate as efficiently as possible

Make your expectations and feelings clear, in the appropriate medium as often as possible.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

3. Talk less

Sometimes saying nothing is better than saying just anything.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

4. Be an example

Be the type of person you want your team members to be.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

5. Be passionate

If you aren’t passionate about your business, you’re in the wrong business.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

6. Be consistent

 Be consistent in your behaviors so your team knows what to expect from you.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

7. Make firm decisions

Don’t leave things undecided for long, and don’t waver about a decision once you’ve made it

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

8. Identify mentors and role models

Find people you can look up to and learn from, and follow them closely.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

9. Interfere only when necessary

If you trust your team to do good work, don’t interfere unless absolutely necessary.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

10. Know your limits

Don’t extend yourself beyond your means.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

11. Know your strengths

If you’re good at resolving disputes, step in and resolve them as often as possible.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

12. Know your weaknesses

If there’s something you’re not good at, admit it, and work on it.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

13. Don’t make excuses

If you make a mistake, take ownership of it and don’t pass the blame to someone or something else.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

14. Accept the unforeseen

You can’t control or predict everything.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

15. Choose your partners carefully

Work only with people you can count on and trust.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

16. Do good

Commit yourself to being a good person and giving back to the community when possible.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

17. Meet new people all the time

Take every opportunity to expand your network and expose yourself to new experiences and perspectives.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

18. Stay in touch with your emotions

Don’t be a robot -- let yourself feel.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

19. Temper your reactions

Hold back your reactions until you have a moment to clarify your internal thoughts and feelings.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

20. Have fun

Take the time to have fun with your team.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

21. Research everything

Before making a decision, know the pros and cons -- do your homework.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

22. Think everything through

Never exclusively trust your instincts or first reactions.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

23. Choose your team carefully

Hire only those you can trust to get the job done (and to get along with others, as well).

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

24. Prioritize your team

Your team is everything. Give them whatever they need to succeed.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

25. Be humble.

Don’t get big-headed about your wealth, influence or position as a leader.

Related: 10 Habits of Ultra-Likable Leaders

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

26. Forgive mistakes

Everyone makes them.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

27. Forgive yourself

Don’t beat yourself up too much over anything. Move on.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

28. Be rational

Make decisions logically.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

29. Be reasonable

Listen to dissenting opinions, and be fair.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

30. Make time for what’s important

There’s no such thing as “not having time” for what’s really important in your life. Make the time.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

31. Constantly learn

Read as much as you can, and take classes whenever you have the opportunity.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

32. Improve everything

Work on improving your approaches, your skills and your processes constantly.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

33. Never give up

Don’t throw in the towel when a little extra persistence could put you over the edge.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

34. Transform your methods when necessary

If something isn’t working, change your approach

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

35. Cut your losses when necessary

If you’re fighting a losing battle, retreat and start again somewhere else (or in a new way).

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

36. Learn from your mistakes

Try not to make the same mistakes twice

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

37. Ground everything with data

Back up all your decisions, opinions and thoughts with hard, objective facts and evidence.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

38. 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.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

39. Give feedback

Let your team know what they’re doing well and what needs further improvement.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

40. Trust, but verify

Trust your team to get things done, but always follow up to make sure the work is completed.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

41. Be approachable

Let people know they can trust you, and open your door to anybody who needs it.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

42. Treat everyone equally

Don’t play favorites; it breeds resentment and makes you appear immature as a leader.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

43. 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.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

44. Get the team together

Use team-building exercises or other excuses to get your team members talking with one other and having fun together

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

45. Return favors

If someone helps you, make it your responsibility to pay back the favor -- even if it’s years later.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

46. Don’t burn bridges

Never cut a contact completely out of your life.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

47. Stay in touch

If team members leave or change roles, stay in contact with them.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

48. 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.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

49. Enjoy leadership

Try not to stress too much about being a leader. Instead, enjoy all the benefits it offers

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

50. 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.

50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

51. 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