10 Management Principles That Every Leader Should Embrace

Updated Over a Week Ago


Adopt these ten management principles and become the leader that everyone in your organization respects and admires!

There is much written on the subject of what makes a person a great business leader.

In my most recent book, The Executive Checklist (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2014), I argue that while there are many characteristics that make for great leaders, there are ten management principles that most of the good ones adopt and make their own.

Let me share them with you:

1. Leaders Must Have a Vision and Share It

The dream, or vision, must become the stuff of rallying cries and express the common goal that the leader and team will share. Once the vision is defined, the leader must articulate it and spread the message across the enterprise. Great leaders recognize that this must be done in a way that enables understanding and buy-in among their teams

2. Strategic Planning Must Become an Ongoing, Continuous Process

Strategic planning is the means by which an organization identifies, organizes and executes the projects and programs needed to realize the vision. The best leaders know that strategic planning should be done continuously and strategies must be adjusted as the marketplace shifts to ensure proper alignment with what is needed for vision achievement.

3. Work Must Be Managed as a Portfolio of Projects

If the strategic plan is comprised of the projects and programs needed to achieve the vision, then a project portfolio becomes the mechanism by which work is managed and performed. Exceptional leaders ensure that their business resources are properly allocated and that project and program investments are rightly monitored and adjusted to achieve long-term success.

4. Trust Must Be Deliberately Weaved into the Organization

Friedrich Nietzsche about sums it up, in his famous quote, “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” We all want to believe in and trust the people that we follow. Offer any reason for a person to doubt your intent and you’ve lost them for life.

5. Leaders Must Constantly Work to Engage and Inspire Staff to Greatness

Staff engagement is not an optional chore. Rather, the most prodigious leaders work to engage and inspire their staffs every day. This 2 minute video offers some tips to consider when you work to engage your team.

6. Leaders Must Always be Driving Active Business Renovation

Great leaders renovate in order to strategically differentiate their enterprises from the competition. They do not drive change for change’s sake. This distinction is an important one to make because it serves to inform the decisions about which types of changes and improvements must be made to best compete.

7. Leaders Must Recognize their Obligation to Transform their Teams

In many ways, renovating business processes are the easiest part of a leader’s job. Transforming staff so that they continue to contribute at the highest level of performance can be a challenge. Staff transformation is an obligation that cannot be overlooked by leaders of all levels of an organization.


8. Technology Must be Seamlessly Integrated into the Business Operation

Outstanding leaders recognize the need to understand all of the technology implications of their strategies because it is the only way that they can be sure that the “right” technology is integrated into their businesses.

9. Communication Practices Must be Incessantly Optimized to Ensure Business Accomplishment

Open and honest communications is a vital ingredient for success within the modern day work setting. Staff must be able to readily access all relevant information and know-how, wherever it exists, in the format desired, and have confidence in its quality in order to use it. Hence, the best leaders know that the regular renewal of communications practices is not only in order, but, is essential to remaining competitive.

10. Leaders Must Work to Re-imagine their Organizations in the Face of Great Resistance

It is well understood that most people don’t like change. However, staff resistance to change does not deter the most brilliant of leaders. They know that it comes with the territory! They know that it’s their job to re-imagine what their businesses can become.

To close, I hope that you have found these management principles revealing and insightful.

Indeed, the breakthrough thinking that is offered here is not, so much, the importance of any one of the principles. Rather, it is the unique entirety of the list of principles that can make a difference for a leader, and those aspiring to become one.

If you choose to embrace the ideas presented here, please be sure to let me know how you have fared.

Which Management Principles Should Leaders Embrace?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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James Kerr
James Kerr
James M. Kerr is considered one of today’s foremost thinkers on Organizational Design and Strategic Transformation. For over 25 years, he has helped his clients re-imagine the way work is organized and performed. Kerr’s next book, his 5th, is due out later this year and focuses on leadership and strategy-setting. You can check-out his most recent book here, follow him on Twitter, or contact him directly via jkerr@executive-checklist.com
  • Ivan Meneses says:

    In order to make strategic planning an ongoing process you need to create a habbit of forward planning a month in advance. This is difficult at the beginning but then it becomes second nature and liberates a great amount of stress from your team because now they are in a proactive rather than a reactive mode.

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