In the movie, A Bug’s Life, Hopper the grasshopper says, “The first rule of leadership is whatever is your fault.” That absolutely can it seems ~ to be the method it is, but that’s an ext a potential outcome than a rule. There are a pair of other means out over there to define the first rule for leadership success:

Show upJust it is in yourself

Both of these relate to good advice. You can not lead her team if you no involved. Top from “on high”, v edicts, emails, phone conferences or messages doesn’t cut it today. Never really has. Employee experience method too much of that loftiness and also it leader to their disengagement. It’s also hard trying to be something you aren’t. Plus, it no authentic.

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The difficulty with Leadership


In a fast study of what’s going ~ above in organizations today there room two powerful clues come the first rule of leadership. Here’s the evidence:

Lower employee engagement leader to substantially poorer service results. The top-down approach to leadership never yes, really worked. That’s about holding on come power, not releasing the potential of people. Trust is damaged at unmatched levels in all types of organizations, especially in business and also government.

The Antithesis the the first Rule for Leadership

Why don’t people trust organization leaders?

Tony Hayward previous CEO the BP declared the antithesis that the first rule the Leadership. In the middle of the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil pour out of 2010, the worst spill in us history, while taking care of it Hayward said, “…I would prefer my life back.” He also commented to BP executives, “What walk we perform to worthy this?!”. The seemed an ext concerned around himself and also the company, prefer so many other executives and managers, than he was about the employees that died, the eco-friendly disaster and economic blow endured by the employees and also their communities.

Employees room wary of leader that:

are aloof and also arrogantare selfish and also seemingly unconcerned about their successare unethical and lack integrity treat castle poorly in terms of respect, compassion, kindnessdon’t listen to their concernsfail to deal with problems in a same or timely manner

The an initial Rule for leadership Success

The above traits pan the flames of employee fears, dissatisfaction and also discontentment which decreases employee performances across the board. The very first rule of management success for any supervisor, manager and executive is that “It isn’t about you.” Rare space the leaders who make the moment to understand, listen, empathize, and also act ~ above the demands or concerns of their teams and other constituents. These leaders understand that once their team wins, castle win. For this reason they authorize the team, clear far obstacles, encourage and train them, and support lock in any kind of positive way they can. They produce trust.


Donald Rumsfeld, previous US Defense Secretary, as soon as said, “Reports the say that something hasn’t occurred are always interesting to me, since as us know, there are well-known knowns; there are things we know we know. We additionally know over there are recognized unknowns; that is come say we know there are some points we execute not know. However there are also unknown unknowns – the ones us don’t know we don’t know.” This governmentese talk estranges others and also gives a classic example of managers who are aloof to the requirements of others and don’t recognize or care around the first rule of leadership.

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In comparison Nelson Mandela said, “A an excellent leader can engage in a conflict frankly and thoroughly, knowing that in ~ the end he and also the other side must be closer, and also thus emerge stronger. Girlfriend don’t have actually that idea once you space arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.” And that’s the large problem isn’t it?

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Rick Conlow is the CEO & Founder of rick Conlow International, a consulting, training and also coaching firm. He has helped over 200 companies such as Target, Costco, Andersen Windows, Spectrum, northern Power, Meijer, Carpet King, international Truck, john Deere, Lowes Financial, and Canadian Linen boost customer loyalty, boost sales and include profits. Rick has actually been a general manager, vice president, maintain director, regimen director, and also national sales trainer. He has actually authored 22 books, and regularly speak at conferences and to audience of every sizes.