10 Core Leadership Principles For A New Year

10 Core Leadership Principles For A New Year

Written by: Chris Cebollero, Forbes Councils Member

Chris is an internationally recognized leadership specialist & multi-number-one bestselling author | Cebollero & Associates Consulting Group.


As we set off on a new year of developing the best organization possible, it’s a good time to get a refresh on some core leadership principles. These practices are what successful organizations commit to and leaders regularly practice. One of my favorite questions when working with leadership teams is to ask them the true measurement of leadership success. Some of the answers include increasing the bottom line, creating a new customers/client base or, lately, securing a more reliable supply chain. Very simply, the true measurement of leadership success is how engaged, satisfied and productive your workforce is. 

When you have an engaged workforce, they will help find supply chain solutions. When employees are satisfied, they are inspired and motivated. When the workforce is productive, they are ensuring an excellent client/customer experience. You want to increase your client base? Treat your workforce like they are your clients and watch how they treat your clients and customers. Focusing on your workforce, inspiring them, helping them grow to their next level and keeping them motivated is paramount to the organization’s success and what leaders need to make a daily priority.

Here are 10 core philosophies that can catapult leadership and organizational success in 2022:

1. Work backward through the sales process. Start with focusing on the customer first, then work backward through the sales process. Making the client the priority changes the culture and sets a strong focus for the organization.

2. Create ownership. When I say this, it always raises an eyebrow with leaders. There is no one job in an organization that is more important than the other. We have a vision, goals to reach the vision and plans to reach the goals. Everyone has a responsibility to do their part in order to achieve the vision. The director of the department has different responsibilities than the co-worker in the warehouse but their position is not any less important to the success of the organization.

3. Set and expect high standards. What does excellence look like? As leaders, we parcel out work assignments, give empowerment and share authority, but are we describing what an excellent outcome looks like? Setting and then expecting high standards should be on every leader’s radar to achieve.

4. Continue learning and teaching. Your personal and professional development needs to be a continual journey. When you gain more knowledge, skills and abilities, it is a core responsibility to teach those in your line of responsibility.

5. Develop the best employee. When we hire employees they come to us with knowledge, a set of skills and abilities. The bottom line is we are not hiring for what the employee has done in the past, but what they are going to do for the organization in the future. If we are not developing our co-workers to enhance their knowledge, skills and abilities, we are only getting from them what they have already given a past employer. We must be proactive in growing the workforce because when the workforce grows, the organization grows. As their leader, always remember you are their role model and mentor; they want to learn from you. Teaching and growing the workforce is a great way to inspire and engage the workforce.

6. Aim high. Les Brown is often credited with saying, “Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.” It makes no difference if it is the organization or the individual, when we think small, we get small. It is vital to create a bold vision that inspires results.

7. Earn trust. When there is a lack of trust in an organization it can lead to a toxic work environment. Trust is a fundamental need for the success of the leader. Leadership is all about the ability to influence others. If you cannot influence people, you will never be able to lead them. Trust is that necessary component for you to influence. The best way to earn trust is to be an active listener, speak honestly and treat others with respect and positive regard.

8. Provide outcomes. Our job as leaders is to get work done through other people, and then we must ensure we are getting the very best work from those people. It is your responsibility as their leader to deliver positive results and outcomes based on the vision and goals set forth by the organization. Never settle for being average, employees want to be part of a world-class organization. Leaders make that happen by reaching goals regardless of setbacks.

9. Challenge decisions and disagree. It is our role as leaders to ensure we stretch the minds of those we lead. Sometimes we must challenge and disagree with decisions. One of my favorite sayings when I disagree with an idea or process change is, “I am not so sure about this. Convince me this is the right decision.” There must be a pretty good discussion to change my mind, as leaders are ultimately responsible for outcomes. Never be a “yes” person as a leader and never compromise for the sake of going along with the team. Earlier we talked about earning trust — nothing breaks trust quicker than compromising your integrity.

10. Lead with humility. The workforce does not work for you. You work for the workforce. This whole article has been based around the concept of the true measurement of leadership success. You need your workforce more than they need you. Especially in the days of the pandemic where more and more organizations are having challenges with recruiting and retaining.

Leadership is both an art and science. You must be able to know and understand the science before you can paint the portrait of organizational success. Focusing on the core principles is a great way of setting a positive foundation for organizational and individual success.

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January 26, 2022 at 04:43AM

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Dr. Sharon Lamm-Hartman