Every week, there are a number of articles and posts on the subject of Leadership that provide thought provoking and useful advice that can be utilized in many organizations. However, with all of this information available, how does one identify the best practices that can be applied to their own organization?
Truly effective leaders have a set of principles that they utilize to guide their actions and decision making in any situation. As a result, these leaders generally deliver great, sustainable results, and their organizational cultures reflect those same principles. In the end, Leadership is judged and “defined by results” (Peter Drucker) that are achieved by the organization.
In 1964, Jack Uldrich wrote a book titled “George Marshall – Soldier, Statesman, Peacemaker; Lessons in Leadership” that described a set of Nine Principles of Leadership that Marshall used to guide him and his organizations throughout his long and varied career.
The Nine Principles are as follows:
- Doing the Right Thing: The Principle of Integrity
- Mastering the Situation: The Principle of Action
- Serving the Greater Good: The Principle of Selflessness
- Speaking Your Mind: The Principle of Candor
- Laying the Groundwork: The Principle of Preparation
- Sharing Know ledge: The Principle of Learning and Teaching
- Choosing and Rewarding the Right People: The Principle of Fairness
- Focusing in the Big Picture: The Principle of Vision
- Supporting the Troops: The Principle of Caring
Even though this book was written almost 50 years ago, these principles have stood the test of time, are just as valid today as when they were first written, and can be utilized by individual leaders to establish the culture of their organizations. When you really think about it, every member of an organization can be considered a leader at some level, and can utilize these principles in their daily activities, as well
Also, note that many of these principles have appeared in other management and leadership texts. While the principles may have a different name, or description, the essence of each one is generally consistent including integrity, action, candor, preparation, and having the right team, among others. For example, in his book, “Good to Great“, Jim Collins talks about “Level 5 Leaders, Who then What, Confronting the Brutal Facts, and a Culture of Discipline”. All can be directly related to Marshall’s principles above.
All organizations have leaders. However, those organizations that produce sustainable results will have a leader that follows these principles personally, and makes them a part of the organizational culture. The effective leader cannot pick and choose which principles he will use, it is an all or nothing proposition, and all must be present for success.
The leaders and organizations that choose to utilize and apply these principles will ultimately produce great results, and achieve success.
Over the coming weeks, we will be focusing on these principles in greater detail, with practical applications, and how each one can be applied to your organization to improve and drive overall success.
“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.” – Peter Drucker
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
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