1.  Create a clear and compelling vision
A compelling vision acts as a beacon of light that keeps your people focused on where you want to go.  Napoleon Bonaparte achieved great victories on the battlefield.  Part of his success was due to his decisiveness and the decisiveness of his field marshals in making decisions.  Napoleon made sure his field marshals knew what to do when they didn’t know what to do.  His standing order was: “In the absence of orders, march to the sounds of the guns.”

2.  Focus on the future; leave the past behind
A young monk and an old monk come to a river. There’s a beautiful lady standing there who needs to get across.  The old monk scoops the lady up in his arms and carries her across the river.  The lady kisses the old monk on the cheek and thanks him for his kindness.  The young monk raises an accusing eyebrow at the behaviour he has just witnesses; for the Order he and the old monk belong to, forbids any physical contact with women.  He decides not say anything. The two monks continue on their journey.  After a few miles, the young monk stops to confront the old monk.  “How can you live with yourself having broken our most sacred vow of never touching a woman?” The old monk shakes his head and says: “Brother, I left that woman by the river an hour ago.  It is you who are still carrying her around in your mind.”

3.  Be open and visible
Never mind email, get belly to belly with your people; let them see and feel your presence. Good leaders lead from the front and set the example for others to follow.  When I reported in to my first combat infantry battalion, my company commander showed me around the company area.  He eventually showed me to my new office:  “And here’s your office, but you’ll never see it, because if you’re doing your job properly as a leader, you’ll never be in it. Your place of duty is in front of your troops.”

4.  Listen with no agenda
Your people like to be heard and they like to know you’re listening.  Listen actively with no agenda other than to listen and understand.  Steven Covey tells us, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”  In order to do that, you have to listen.  And it doesn’t to every now and then let your folks have a “moan” session.  They’ll feel better for it.  I once remarked to my Platoon Sergeant that our soldiers complained to much.  My Platoon Sergeant looked at me with a big old grin and said: “Sir, if they ain’t complaining; they ain’t training.”

5.  Accept mistakes as your own; take the praise for nothing
As the leader everything is your fault, no exceptions! You are responsible for everything your people do or fail to do.  If they fail to meet their targets, it’s because you failed to provide the proper guidance and support.  You can delegate tasks and authority, but you can never delegate responsibility.  If your team exceeds its targets, make sure it’s your people who get all the credit, and be sure to praise them openly and honestly.

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