— Benjamin Franklin
“No,” responded the child, “I’m thankful for my glasses because they keep the other boys from hitting and fighting with me and the girls from kissing me.”
While perhaps not the reason the teacher had expected to hear, the little boy made his point. As leaders we’ve all benefited from good teachers that have shaped our lives. As a leader you are now in that role and the life lessons you share are just as important.
John Maxwell said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” This is one of your functions as a leader. While it may not be in a formal classroom setting it is teaching nonetheless and the lessons are important. Here are ten lessons every leader
should always be teaching. It’s not an exhaustive list but these are essential.
How to give praise
with your team members. When the people in your business or
organization receive praise and encouragement from you they come away
with the sense that you have their backs. Give them praise and give it
How to listen
This is one of the most important skills that you will develop as a
leader. Many leaders like to talk but you will be a more effective
leader when you learn to listen and hear what others have to say. From
what you learn you can make better and more informed decisions.
How to say no
While listening may be one of the most important things to teach
saying no will be one of the hardest. Many good ideas from
well-meaning people will come across your desk. Be it the timing, the
budget, or some other factor, sometimes the answer is no. How you say
no is important. Take the time to explain why.
How to work hard
Your team members will learn more from your example than by your
words. If you want them to work hard then they need to see you work
hard. Leadership by example is not just a clichÈ it is real and
practical. When they see that you have skin and sweat in the game they
will join you.
How to let things go
As a leader you will face many challenges and many frustrations.
People get on your nerves and rub you the wrong way. You have
pressures, deadlines, and disappointments. Teach your team how to let
things go and not get so stressed out over every little obstacle that
comes your way. Not everything you set out to do is always going to go
according to plan. But that’s okay. Let it go.
How to confront
This is one of the least favorite things a leader has to do. We’d much
rather be giving out praise. But there are those times as a leader
when you must confront others for whatever reason. How you confront
needs to be a teachable moment that shows how to be firm, how to be
fair, and that you have accountability measures in place that you are
not afraid to enforce. How you do it is just as important as why you
How to say thank you
This one simple act can make a world of difference. Why it’s hard at
times for leaders to do I am not sure. But if you want to see the
atmosphere in your office or organization improve then take the time
to thank those around you for all of their hard work. And while you
are at it — make it personal. Hand-written notes are especially nice.
How to forgive
Hang around in leadership long enough and you will understand the
power of forgiveness. You will learn about the necessity of giving it
and receiving it. The point is simply this — life is too short to hold
grudges and hold on to resentments. Forgive others and move on.
How to set priorities
Jim Rohn said, “Either you run the day or the day runs you.” People in
your organization need to see that you have a set of priorities that
you live by — family, faith, work etc. You teach priorities by your
routines and time management. What’s important to you is given
priority. It’s that simple.
How to delegate
Delegation is the key to your success and that involves everyone in
the process. Delegation is not just divvying up work for the sake of
having something to do. It’s about matching the right people with the
right skills to maximize productivity and results. You were not meant
to do it all by yourself. Delegate your way to success.
What do you say?
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Doug Dickerson is a syndicated columnist. He writes a weekly column
for this newspaper. To contact Doug Dickerson, email him at