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  • Writer's picturePeter McKenzie

5 Leadership Lessons from Colin Powell

Colin Powell was among the most respected US Statesmen of the last 25 years. A brilliant general and unassuming politician, he was also a symbol of equality in an ever-divided America.

But if you are a new manager, an entrepreneur with a small team, or just interested in what outstanding leadership is about, did you know that back in 2012, Colin Powell shared his rules for Leadership?

Check out my favourite of Colin Powell's rules:

Rule #1: Share Credit

What your team cares about isn’t success.

It is recognition.

Give your people credit for what they do, and they will back you.

Rule #2: Check Small Things

Most leaders think of big wins.

In reality, it’s the opposite that is true.

Check small things.

Getting the small things right consistently lays the foundation for long-term success.

Rule #3: You can't make someone else's decisions. You shouldn't let someone else make yours.

It takes people a long time to learn this one.

Success is not about blindly following the boss's instructions.

Instead, it’s about making your own decisions and standing by them repeatedly—until one day, you find you have walked your own path to success.

Rule #4: Remain calm. Be kind.

This one is my favourite.

Whether you are a CEO of a multinational organisation, a startup leader or a small team supervisor, this rule still applies.

Powell said:

"Kindness, like calmness, reassures followers and holds their confidence."

And this usually makes all the difference.

Rule #5: Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier

This is true for most things in life.

Your goal should not be to give false hope.

Instead, you should be more concerned with having self-belief and transmitting that to your team.

Then, and only then, you will follow in the footsteps of one of the most elegant politicians and leaders America has ever produced.

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