I write a lot about leadership, drawing from the latest research and best practices to inform what great work cultures look like.

This piece is a little different. As you read further, don't excuse the principles I'm positing as some sort of fleeting, utopian form of flowery leadership. While these virtues may have a spiritual bent, they'll invite in respect, command influence, and produce results.

And while you'll find these uncommon behaviors popping out of the pages of leadership best-sellers and the literature, the hardest part will be believing in them and applying them with serious intent.

If you're up to the task, consider this a personal guide to a higher and purer form of leadership. Practice one principle per day, and then record in a journal the outcome of such virtues in practice. Good luck.

1. Use your words with restraint.

The smartest leaders may be wise and know a lot of things, but they say little to draw attention to themselves. They are even-tempered and use words with restraint. They tune in to the other person and are more interested to know what they think before hastily opening their mouths to "impose" knowledge. As Proverbs states, "When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent."

2. Practice forgiveness.

Good leaders forgive a wrongdoing because they know to err is human, and that failure leads to success. By promoting a culture of forgiveness instead of harboring resentment and grudges, forgiveness can be an effective way to restore trust and set things right with colleagues and bosses alike. Additionally, forgiven people are motivated to never repeat the offense. New research, in fact, finds forgiveness to improve well-being and productivity in the workplace.

3. Curb conflict before it starts.

Ancient wisdom from the Good Book warns that an argument that escalates is like a leak or a crack in a dam, so stop it before it bursts. This is indicative of good leaders. They detect with keen intuition contentious exchanges about to go south, and will nip them in the bud before they get heated.

4. Be open to new knowledge.

The ears of open-minded leaders will inquire and crave new information and be open to new ideas. He or she is always learning, always curious, always asking questions, and listening for fresh insights.

5. Make the choice to care on a deeper level.

Caring for employees means serving them well because it leads to competitive advantage. This all starts with developing the mind-set to firmly put into action the statement "I will treat my employees with great care, so they will treat our customers with great care."

6. Believe and trust in others.

Leaders who truly value people will extend trust as a gift before it's earned; they have a high view of people, and show them respect and dignity from the start. When this happens, the return on trust is threefold as employees are that much more loyal and committed to their work and boss.

7. See the potential in others.

Great leaders discover the strengths people have in order to continue providing for their learning and growth and encouraging their human development.

8. Share your leadership.

Leaders will not fail if they share power, decision-making, and status. By allowing others a seat at the table for discussion, input, and the sharing of ideas, it's empowering and builds trust.

9. Build community.

Great leaders enhance relationships by promoting a sense of belonging and connection for all team members; by working collaboratively, emphasizing teamwork; and by valuing the differences of others -- differing gifts, personalities, and viewpoints.

10. Listen to your heart.

The heart, your intuition, or your gut feeling -- whatever you prefer to label it -- is the essence of emotional wisdom. It means becoming aware of your feelings and trusting them as inner guidance. It doesn't mean suppressing any logic and reason; it means having inner peace and tapping into the spirit within you to guide and counsel you through life.

11. Walk in integrity.

Proverbs states, "Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways." A person who walks the walk of integrity becomes a role model who commands respect and exercises great influence. These are the type of leaders people desire and whom you want to promote to management roles.

Published on: Jun 20, 2018
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