Why Real Leaders Do What Is Right

SUCCESS: Why Real Leaders Do What Is Right

SUCCESS: Why Real Leaders Do What Is RightSo often, I hear leaders say a choice they made was a “matter of principle.” I find myself thinking an awful lot that that doesn’t mean what they think it means. Especially when, more often than not, it’s pretty obvious their decisions and actions had a lot less to do with principle and more to do with something else—like what is best for them. And the organization and its mission seem to be an afterthought at best. This kind of leading may work in the short term, but the veil eventually falls away, and those true, unprincipled motives come to light.

Real leaders, on the other hand, do make their decisions based on principle. You can usually tell because their choices and actions tend to be defining moments in their lives—moments that reveal who they really are, or moments that put them on the path to the leader they will become. Sometimes it does both.

If you want to be a real leader who doesn’t just give good lip service, you have to approach your leadership role (whether it’s official or not) with a mindset based on principle.

Do what’s right.

It sounds simple, but when you are the leader, it falls on you to make decisions that are in the best interest of your people and the organization. It means your job, your focus, has to be on the long-term benefits of the enterprise, on making principled decisions based on the company’s mission—not what might work at this exact moment or what’s popular. And, whatever choices you do make, know you will never make everyone happy. If you try to make everyone happy, you will make no one happy.

Trust your gut.

Learn to trust your gut for the right answer. As a leader, you may get data and numbers, but then you have to rely heavily on your instincts to decide what needs to happen next. You have to have enough faith in yourself to convince everyone else it’s the right thing, especially when it’s not the most popular thing.

Create growth.

As a real leader, you’ll learn to understand your role is less about your own growth and more about that of your team and of the company. Ensuring their growth will be your biggest job, and the only way to do that is to lead with purpose and values in mind—even when it’s hard. Your job as the leader is to be a guiding principle and to guide on principle. Any other kind of leadership will lead to the stagnation of the mission and the enterprise.

You have to decide: Do you want your legacy to be the guy who did the popular thing that everyone loved but sank the company? Or do you want to be the guy who made the tough, principled decisions and led the company to greatness?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


recent posts

6 Quotes to Motivate Your Team (Part 2)

6 Quotes to Motivate Your Team (Part 2)

Many of you have thanked me for the 6 Quotes To Motivate Your Team blog. I am thrilled that you enjoyed it! If you liked that one, you are in for a treat. These are three more quotes that I have seen working in the hearts and minds of leaders, teams, and change agents...

6 Quotes to Motivate Your Team (Part 1)

6 Quotes to Motivate Your Team (Part 1)

“TEAM LEADER.” Sometimes it's a title on a door, shirt, or on a plaque, but all too often, it's an entirely unspoken designation. More often than not, if everyone always talks about your unfettered optimism and your infectious enthusiasm and passion for success, you...

A Date With Gratitude

A Date With Gratitude

An Old Friend On my last trip to the UK, I planned to sit down with an old friend to have brunch in East Sussex. It had been a long while since we last connected, and I wanted to make sure I took some time just for him. We chose a wooded spot for a forest brunch so we...

The History of Motivational Speaking Shapes Our Future

The History of Motivational Speaking Shapes Our Future

The History of Public Speaking We've been captivated by words for as long as we've been using them. Throughout history, the power of words has been proven time and time again, whether talking about powerful speeches, letters, poetry, music, and good, or sometimes...


Recent Comments


“The scarcest resource in the world is not oil, it’s leadership.”

As Co-CEO of the largest independent financal services company in North America, John Addison’s skill as a leader was tested and honed daily. He retired in 2015 after taking the company and it’s people to massive heights. He’s just not done helping people get to the top. Today, he’s at the helm of Addison Leadership Group, INC working daily to mentor and educate new leaders.