The Principles of Effective Leadership

August 9, 2019
min to read
Francis Pedraza
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Everyone is a leader. Whether you recognize it or not, your actions affect others. As a leader, you can be aware or unaware of how your actions affect others. It is better to be aware.

As a leader, you can affect people positively or negatively. It is better to affect people positively. Leadership is not a title. Not a badge. Not a responsibility thrusted upon your shoulders but a torch you step up to carry.

Everyone is a Leader. You do not need to be “qualified” to solve a problem.

A leader is not assigned

A leader is self-selecting. Leaders are not perfect. Leaders are deeply flawed beings. Leaders “seek truth with integrity.” Leaders become increasingly self-aware of their flaws. Leaders want to save the world.

Leaders care about ethics

Leaders make principled objections. Leaders observe professional courtesy. Leaders have the decency to resign or get in line.

About doing the right thing. About not just the ends, but the means. Leaders use Might in service of Right.

Leaders don’t need a badge

If leaders need a badge to get things done, the structure is not elegant. Leaders don’t blame problems on anyone or anything, they take responsibility.

Leaders solve problems

They escalate problems they can’t solve themselves. Leaders seek to structure what can be structured, improve what can be improved. Leaders don’t shirk from duty. They show up. Even when it is daunting. Leaders insist on “seeking the truth with integrity”. They insist on operating on principle.

Leaders either agree with the company’s principles, or don’t. If they do, they should stay. If they don’t they should leave. Don’t lie to yourself. Lying to yourself is the worst kind of lie.

If you don’t “get it”, it is “on you” to get to the bottom of it — and figure out “what’s going on”.

Pointing fingers and saying “I don’t get it” is lack of leadership.

Leaders are not politicians

Leaders make principled decisions. They seek and exercise power for the sake of principles. Noble means for noble ends. Might for the sake right.

Politicians make pragmatic/arbitrary decisions. They seek and exercise power for its own sake. Expedient means for selfish ends. Might makes right.

Leaders don’t compromise their principles

Even the smallest compromise undermines a foundation of legitimacy, and can be its undoing.

Expedient decisions should never, ever, ever be used as a means to an end, even a noble end.

If principles are compromised, the compromised should be immediately acknowledged as a mistake, reversed, corrected, and prevented from recurring.

If principles are compromised, the only way forward is to go backwards, trace the mistake to root causes, and fix it, before continuing.

Leaders have a growth mindset

A leader’s attitude should be one of infinite growth and learning. A leader should consider him or herself both expert and beginner in all things.

Expert because competence in one area can be applied in all areas. Because everything is connected, there is such a thing as “meta” skill.

Meta skills always transfer. They make you good at everything. There is leverage in mastering the meta.

Beginner because anyone who has achieved “Level 10” in any skill discovered that they have arrived at the new “Level 1”.

A leader approaches the world with a “beginner’s mind” — curious about everything, investigating all phenomenon — trying to see with both old and new eyes.

Do not be too quick to delegate to experts. Do not be too intimidated by lack of skill. You do not need to be “qualified” to solve a problem.

Hayley Darden Marketing Invisible Technologies
Francis Pedraza
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