Today’s virtual, work-anywhere environment presents many interesting challenges for managers and leaders. However, I am convinced that the fundamentals of leadership never change. In the spirit of the upcoming US holiday, Veterans Day, I reflect on what I learned years ago while serving in the army. I was taught the 11 principles of leadership, and I still find that this list is as relevant today as it was when I first saw it 20 years ago. Here is the list:
- Know yourself and seek self-improvement
- Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions
- Make sound and timely decisions
- Set the example
- Know your people and look out for their well-being
- Be technically and tactically proficient
- Keep your subordinates informed
- Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates
- Ensure the task is understood, supervised and accomplished
- Build the team
- Employ your team in accordance with its capabilities
Now, think about the list in terms of leading virtually. Do you set the example (#4) by working remotely or working from home periodically? Are you trying to leverage all the tools available to you to lead in a virtual environment or are you still relying on ‘old school’ styles of running things (#6)? Are you outcome oriented or are you micro-managing how your employees get things done (#8 and #9)? Are you creating a sense of equality and fairness between your traditional, office-based employees and your teleworkers (#10)? I could go on. It’s good to take a minute or two to reflect on how these principles apply to your current situation.
In addition to the 11 principles above, I was taught that leaders are made, not born. All of us have an opportunity to become better leaders with a little effort and hard work (see principle #1).
P.S. Wherever you reside, this week thank someone who has served their country.