10 Principles of Leadership

The 10 Principles of Leadership were developed by the Canadian military.
The 10 Principles of Leadership were developed by the Canadian military. (Image: royal canadian air force uniform image by Gina Smith from Fotolia.com)

The 10 Principles of Leadership are taught to NCOs and officers in the Canadian military, and sometimes in the United States military. These simple rules ensure a strong chain of command that leads by example and helps lower-ranking members achieve the leadership skills they will need in the future. Other nonmilitary organizations have adopted these principles as well.

Achieve Professional Competence

No one respects an incompetent commander. Leaders should remain competent in their own duties and competent enough in the duties of their subordinates to properly direct their work.

Know Your Strengths and Limitations and Pursue Self-Improvement

Leaders always strive to better themselves, but they also understand when they are not competent to do things. This is the essence of knowing when and to whom to delegate.

Seek Out and Volunteer For Responsibility

A leader is motivated and proactive. She looks for things that need to be done and ensures that they are taken care of. However, obey the second rule and know your limitations.

Lead By Example

The leader sets the tone for his organization. He should always focus more on what he does to move things forward rather than on telling people what they need to do.

Communicate Clearly, Then Lead

A good leader ensures that her team is clear on what needs to be done and how before attempting to lead them in accomplishing the task. This entails not just issuing orders, but ensuring the team is clear on the intent and will behind those orders.

Understand and Take Care of Your Team

A leader who knows his team well as individuals will be best prepared to put them together as a group. A great leader looks at the needs of those individuals and takes care of them. Take care of your team, and they will work hard for you.

Look For and Develop Leadership

A great leader has other leaders who work under her. She recognizes leadership potential in team members and ensures that potential is nurtured and encouraged.

Make Sound, but Timely, Decisions

A good leader recognizes the point when not making a decision is actually making a decision not to act. While more information is good, indecision due to not having all the information can paralyze a leader.

Train Your Team as a Team, and Challenge Them Without Overwhelming Them

Great leaders recognize shortcomings and strengths in their followers, and take steps to minimize or neutralize shortcomings while maximizing use of strengths. A well-functioning team can be the key to eliminating weaknesses.

Keep Everyone Informed

A team of several people gives you several brains to process data. Any one of them might have the key to solving your problem. By keeping them informed about the current situation, you maximize your problem-solving capabilities.

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