Incredipete’s Rules of Leadership

Since leadership appears to be way less common than management, allow me to outline some essential elements of leadership.

1. When taking leadership of a new team, take a moment to introduce yourself.

2. When taking leadership of a new team, consider not making draconian changes as your first orders of business. People tend to get freaked out when your first official act is to throw out what they’ve been working on for years.

3. When your team makes suggestions, attempt to glean any good ideas out of what they’re saying, rather than spending your time thinking of reasons why they are stupid.

4. Gung-ho is only an appealing trait in a military commander. In any other setting, gung-ho just comes off as arrogant and obnoxious. And naive.

5. Immerse yourself in the team’s process before attempting to change the process. Chances are if a team of intelligent people have decided to do something a certain way, there are compelling reasons to keep doing that way. Even if there’s a better way, understanding the reasons, not just the process, is very important to your success.

6. Successful change only comes through good leadership. People do not respond well to having change crammed down their throats. As I’ve said many times before… if your team hates your changes, you are either making stupid changes, or you aren’t communicating or involving people enough.

7. People can tell the difference between charisma and arrogance. “Fake it till you make it” rarely works in the real world. It doesn’t take long for experienced people to see through your facade.

8. Condescending, patronizing, a pedantic attitude only reveal that you are unworthy of respect – which is the main thing you need as a leader.

9. You can’t demand respect. Credentials don’t earn you respect. Only displaying real leadership ability will garner real respect. People may have to respect the position, but they will only respect you if you deserve it.

10. Kindness and compassion are always better than toughness and demands. Do you like being pushed around? Neither does anyone else. You don’t have to be a pushover to be kind and compassionate. You just have to have a little bit of human decency and a little humility.

11. Acting like you have all the answers will kill ALL creativity and passion on your team. People won’t contribute if you are certain you already know everything. Chances are, you don’t know as much as you think you do.

12. You’ll know you’re a leader if there are people following you. If everybody behind you is throwing rocks at you, you may be a lot of things, but a leader is not one of them.

13. If you like the sound of your own voice, you’re not a leader, you’re an a-hole. Good leaders listen more than they talk. There’s an inverse proportion between how much you know and how much you speak. (Google “Tartuffe”)

14. If you feel the need to be involved in every decision, not matter how small, you’re not a leader, you’re a micro-manager. And the only thing worse than a manager is a micro-manager. If you are going to make every decision, why do you need a team?

15. Managers get compliance by making rules with consequences. Leaders get results by letting people use their own intelligence and creativity to achieve an agreed-upon result.

It turns out humility is much more important in leadership than any credential ever could be.

  6 comments for “Incredipete’s Rules of Leadership

  1. Michele Huff
    August 27, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Such good stuff Incredipete! I agree with all your points! You need to write a book!

  2. August 27, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I practically have! There are just shy of 900 articles on my blog…

  3. August 27, 2011 at 10:46 am


  4. Christen Blando
    August 27, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I agree with everything you said Incredipete. I’ve worked under micro-managers in business who literally swept into what was already a fine working team, changed everything, caused the team members to appear dishonest to those we’d been selling the bill of goods sold us to, then one by one, each of us left as we very sadly said goodbye to one another, but simply could not bear to work under these circumstances. The new team was quickly assembled and remains to this day a well-oiled money maker that consumes people, lies to them about what they will offer but sugar coats everything with goo so the people spending the money think they’re getting a lot of perks. The problem they have is that the greed of the company will always create an environment where those working there will feel their jobs are at stake constantly unless they “yessir” the bosses. So what they’re left with is a lot of greedy ankle biters that hate and abuse one another to get ahead. It’s ugly, yet unfortunately, sometimes works in corporate America. I HATE it and refuse to be a part of it. I love the small office with real people who live and work honestly. Good writing Incredipete. Keep it up man.

  5. YMM
    August 27, 2011 at 11:43 am

    You have pretty well summed up the topic of leadership! Any yahoo can boss people around, but as you said, leadership grows out of earned trust and respect.

  6. Lynne
    August 30, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Well said Incredipete!

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