As you’ve likely heard, General Colin Powell recently died. He was the first Black four-star general commanding U.S. troops, and he became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State during President George W. Bush’s first term.
General Powell left a powerful legacy for leaders to admire and learn from. Among them are his 13 rules of leadership. I suggest that reflecting on them can help all of us become better leaders. Here they are:
Rule No. 1: It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
Rule No. 2: Get mad, and then get over it.
Rule No. 3: Don’t become so attached to an argument that if it fails, your ego goes with it.
Rule No. 4: It can be done.
Rule No. 5: Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
Rule No. 6: Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
Rule No. 7: You can’t make someone else’s decisions. (And don’t let others make yours.)
Rule No. 8: Check small things.
Rule No. 9: Share credit.
Rule No. 10: Remain calm and be kind.
Rule No. 11: Have a vision.
Rule No. 12: Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
Rule No. 13: Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.
If you’d like to know the context for each of these rules, you can find it in this article.
Reflect on each of these rules, then on this scorecard rate yourself on how well you perform with each rule. From there, take the steps you need to improve your leadership skills.