Principle based leadership

We all are given opportunities to lead. Some lead vast organizations, others small teams, and still others, a family.

A leader is one who is so clearly focused on the destination that they’re able to direct the paths of others. A leader helps you see where you are, where you need to go, and then points you in the right direction.

While a manager steers you every step of the way, the leader steps back to let you work. A leader lets you manage for yourself the specific pitfalls that might confront you as you trek your daily path onward, instructing less on the “how” and more on the “why.”

A good leader sees the principles that lie at the heart of every issue  and instructs on those principles as they’re naturally encountered. Learning principles as they’re practically applicable makes them easier to remember.

What’s more, the power of this kind of principle-based leadership is that it is freeing.

Over time, those you lead learn the bulk of the most common principles, and are thereby able to govern themselves. A good leader often does less over time, whereas a manager must toil every step of the way.

This becomes a valuable asset within your organization (even if it’s only a family), for there are times when decisions will have to be made and you are not around. But those who have been properly led by principles will more often make the same decisions whether you’re there or not, for they know the “why” behind your decisions.

So whomever you lead, make sure to lead by principles. The next time you’re tempted to instruct on “how,” consider if the future payoff won’t be greater if you instead focus on the “why” and let them figure out the details.

-Rusty

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