I spent many great (painful) days at my alma mater dear, The United States Military Academy at West Point. As cadets, we had a few well-founded perspectives on West Point. It’s the most beautiful place you’ll ever hate. It’s a good place to be… from. The best view of West Point is in your rear-view mirror.
Fifteen years after throwing my hat in the air and receiving my diploma, I’ve had the benefit of time to reflect on my experiences at my rockbound highland home. As I’ve grown wiser (and older and fatter and grayer) I’ve come to appreciate the timeless nature of some of the things they teach there.
One of my favorites is the “official version” of the leadership principles (as opposed to my unofficial version). These eleven principles span military, business, and organizational leadership. They’re straight-forward and require little explanation. They are:
1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement
2. Be technically and tactically proficient
3. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions
4. Set the example
5. Know your people and look out for their well-being
6. Keep your people informed
7. Ensure the task is understood, supervised, and accomplished
8. Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates
9. Train your people as a team
10. Make sound and timely decisions
11. Employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities
Simple, right? One of my favorite books, Ed Ruggero’s The Leader’s Compass eloquently explains these concepts in the appendix (and the main part of the book is more than pretty darn good too – grab a copy).
These concepts translate across time, organizations, and beliefs. Print this out. Keep a copy handy. They’re worth knowing. I’ll use these eleven principles in future posts and relate stories around them so get to know them – they’ll be back.
– If you want to articulate your own set of leadership principles, grab a copy of my book One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership