This week’s boost of leadership energy comes straight from one of my early career mentors.  This truly exceptional individual practiced leadership according to 5 simple handwritten rules that he kept posted on the wall in his office for everyone to see. 

These rules pointed to his True North as a leader, and were the first words that he would read every morning, right after securing his first of many cups of coffee for the day. They read…

5 Simple Rules To Be A Great Leader:

1.  Surround yourself with great people.

2.  Provide them with challenging opportunities.

3.  Expect the extraordinary.

4.  Work like crazy to provide support.

5.  Stay out of the way until you’re needed.

You could do much worse than follow the guidance inherent in those 32 simple words.  While they don’t explicitly encompass all leadership situations, it’s hard to imagine a circumstance that doesn’t lead back to one of the rules. 

I particularly love the part about Expecting the Extraordinary.  I’ve relied on that philosophy for most of my career and have rarely been disappointed.  It’s more than offering up empty words or disingenuous cheerleading.

Expecting the Extraordinary is much about showing confidence in an individual or a team and letting them know that they have the opportunity and your support to push the envelope on creating value, solving a problem, innovating and improving the business. 

My experience living by this philosophy taught me a few things about people and human nature that I’ve learned to employ  along with the 5 Simple Rules to great success:

  • Good people want to do great things.
  • Good people will go to amazing lengths for someone they respect. 
  • Those that aren’t good people expose themselves quickly.  (Get rid of them.)
  • You build followership faster by serving than commanding. (Although, people need to know that you can command.)

Frankly, only the most confident and capable of leaders are capable of living according to the 5 Simple Rules.  Most leaders make the mistake of thinking that it is all about them.  The best leaders got the memo that said otherwise.  

The Bottom-Line for this Week: 

If it helps, write down The 5 Rules for Leading and reference them frequently.  And pay special attention to #3, Expect the Extraordinary.  That one’s a sleeper, but it may just be the most important of all.  That is of course, if you are motivated to lead teams that do great things.

Now get on with your week and if you are truly courageous, dare to see what a difference 5 little rules can make