11 Principles of Leadership

man shaking hand with a woman

If someone ever shared with you that you need to develop your leadership skills, you may have wondered where to start.  The best leaders know that leadership is about behavior and there are select principles that help guide you, and your actions, so you’re more influential.

Here are 11 Principles that take time, commitment, and effort to develop – but, when demonstrated consistently – allow you to be seen as a leader in whatever environment you’re in.

11 Leadership Principles

  1. Be the Example.  If you want followers, you have to demonstrate in thought, word, and deed how to behave.  You can’t expect to have influence over someone if you say one thing, and then do another.
  2. Keep the Standard.  If a standard is important to you or the organization that you’re a part of, then be accountable to it and hold others accountable to it.  You have to mind what matters.
  3. Seek Responsibility Before You Place Blame.  When there’s a problem, it’s easy to point a finger.  True leaders aren’t problem pointer-outers.  They’re problem solvers.  They know if they’re close enough to a problem, they likely had something to do with it.  They don’t concern themselves with finding out who caused the issue.  They focus their energy on responding with accountability.
  4. Take Care of Those You Lead.  A solid leader transforms a group of individuals into a team.  When you have a service-based leadership mindset, you look out for those around you to ensure they have what they need to be successful.
  5. When Faced with a Crisis: Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.  Leaders don’t lose their minds when confronted with challenge.  They pause, keep their “plane in the air,” seek to understand where they need to go, and communicate with those around them that can help.
  6. Don’t Cry Over Something That Won’t Cry Over You.  Tears … or any overwhelming emotion … over situations that won’t reciprocate are a waste of effort.  We need to save our precious emotions for situations that we truly care about.  If we find ourselves on an emotional roller coaster, that’s a clear signal that we need to address what’s triggering us to not have emotional resolve.
  7. Be Courageous.  When it comes to work, workplace courage isn’t physical courage.  Sometimes it’s giving direct feedback, or even stating “I don’t know.”  There are plenty of times when we can be vulnerable; the best leaders know that vulnerability leads to building trust.
  8. Stay in Learning Mode.  The more you learn, the more you should realize all it is that you don’t know.  Curious leaders are solid contributors to work environments because they embrace a growth-oriented mindset.
  9. Build and Express Your Confidence.  Confidence is contagious – it inspires a can-do spirit in a work environment.  Confidence is also emotion, which means it can waver.  Sometimes a simple bout of “self-talk,” expressing to yourself positive self-appraisals, can be the healthy trick to building and expressing your confidence in moments that count. 
  10.  Narrow Your Say-Do Gap.  You build influence by being a person who lives up to their word.
  11.  Always Lead as You Are.  There’s one leadership style that’s best – it’s yours.  We all have unique, authentic leadership styles.  Build your self-awareness by knowing your strengths, your weaknesses, preferences, and communication style.  The more you know about you, the more authentic and confident you can be.


Want to learn more about specific leadership skills you can build?  Explore more of www.sparkslead.us to receive guidance from the New York Times best-selling business book SPARK: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success.  

Angie Morgan is an executive coach who works with high-performing leaders to help them achieve next-level results.  After her service in the Marine Corps, she co-created the leadership development firm Lead Star and co-wrote the New York Times best-selling books SPARK and Leading from the Front.  Her third book, Bet on You: How Leaders Win with Risk, will be out in spring 2022. 

Related Articles

team members at table discussing leadership qualities

Leadership Qualities Are an Essential Component to Building a Team

  • Posted by Courtney Lynch |
  • July,8 2021,

What’s the best team you’ve ever been on? Teams come in all shapes and sizes. Was...

coworkers talking about leadership principles

14 of the Most Significant Leadership Principles & Traits

  • Posted by Courtney Lynch |
  • June,11 2021,

Leadership development can seem like a mystery.   There are many times in business ...

a woman instructing others

Ten Examples of Powerful Leadership Skills

  • Posted by Angie Morgan |
  • June,3 2021,

Leadership isn’t about a job title.  It’s an individual’s ability to influence...

SUBSCRIBE and receive exclusive SPARK updates as well as weekly leadership guidance.