Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the volume of books, CD’s (do people still buy CD’s), tweets, LinkedIn Posts, social media, podcasts, radio broadcasts, TV shows and articles (have I missed any of the ways we consume) about leadership? I’m guessing, but it would take about 10 lifetimes to consume the information published on leadership. How is one to do that when we only have 1 lifetime and in a time when we all are bombarded with more and more to do?
Audio books and utilizing your drive time to listen to podcast’s certainly helps, but we can’t consume the content that is put before us so we have to be selective in what we consume. In addition to being selective, I think we also need to consume content in an abbreviated fashion. I am not suggesting that we should rely on 140 characters for all of our learning, rather that we don’t have to have 12 chapters on seeking improvement or setting the example.
One thing I learned as a young Officer Candidate for the Georgia Army National Guard was the Army’s 11 Principles of Leadership. These principles are timeless, effective for any leadership position and abbreviated. The 11 Principles that have been a core part of the United States Army’s Leadership training since the early 1950’s are:
- Know Yourself and Seek Self Improvement
- Be Technically Proficient
- Seek Responsibility and Take Responsibility for Your Actions
- Make Sound and Timely Decisions
- Set the Example
- Know Your Personnel and Look Out For Their Well Being
- Keep Your Followers Informed
- Develop a Sense of Responsibility in Your Followers
- Ensure Each Task Is Understood, Supervised and Accomplished
- Build a Team
- Employ Your Team In Accordance With Its Capabilities
It takes more than just knowing these 11 Principles in order to be an exceptional leader, however. You must also take action to implement them into your daily life. In writing this article I took some time to judge myself on a scale of 1 to 5 on each of these 11 Principles and it became very clear to me that I need a lot of work in some areas, some work in others and am doing OK in other areas. I would like to challenge you to do the same thing. Get out a piece of paper. Write the 11 Principles down and give yourself an honest grade from 1 to 5. Anything that you grade yourself a 3 or less in is the area in which you may want to focus your learning efforts in order to develop yourself into a better leader.
I will be drilling down on these 11 Principles in the coming weeks and hope you will join me as I explore how the US Army’s 11 Principles of Leadership can work for you.