I enjoy those leadership books that revisit the basics.
While some books on leadership are better than others, I always find it helpful to be reminded of the fundamentals.
Whenever I’ve managed to get myself in trouble it’s because I’ve forgotten or ignored a basic rule about the function of leadership.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of Leadership Rules 101 that are worth remembering.
- Do the right thing. Remember that the most expedient thing is not always the right thing.
- Your best people are your organization’s best asset. Invest in them.
- You are primarily responsible for your stewardship of the organization, not for the needs or happiness of everyone in it.
- Foster responsibility, do not cater to the weakest in the system. If you tolerate poor workers and poor performers you will lose your best people first.
- Leadership is 100% effort done 100% of the time. It comes with the job. The day you decide you’re too tired to be the leader, someone else becomes the leader.
- The leader sets the tone for the organization. Leaders who want integrity, transparency, loyalty, and honesty in their organization need to practice them first.
- Leaders are not defined by their business card nor their paycheck, but by their character and their actions.
- Don’t get in a business that’s not your business.
- When you leave, leave. The future, decisions and welfare of the organization are no longer your responsibility—or, your business.
- Leave the organization in better shape than how you found it.
What are some of your basic rules of leadership? Share them.
Israel Galindo is Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning at the Columbia Theological Seminary. He directs the Pastoral Excellence Program at Columbia seminary. He is the author of the bestseller, The Hidden Lives of Congregations (Alban), Perspectives on Congregational Leadership (Educational Consultants), and A Family Genogram Workbook (Educational Consultants), with Elaine Boomer & Don Reagan, and Leadership in Ministry: Bowen Theory in the Congregational Context.
His books on education include Mastering the Art of Instruction,The Craft of Christian Teaching (Judson), How to be the Best Christian Study Group Leader (Judson), and Planning for Christian Education Formation (Chalice Press).