12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old

In an age when everything is newer, better faster, it’s good sometimes to pause and remember some of the old wisdom that humanity has acquired through the ages.

If we hold to these evergreen principles, they can carry us through the toughest and most challenging times in work and in life—just as they did for our parents and grandparents.

The words may seem timeworn at first glance, but that’s evidence of their enduring value, and if you move past their familiarity to connect with the meaning, you’ll understand why they’ve lasted so long.

Everyone’s list may be a little different, but here are 12 of my own favorites:

1. If you want something in life, you have to pay the cost.
Too often, we want the reward without the risk, the success without the failure. But you can’t have a destination without a journey. And every journey comes at a cost—an investment of time, patience and discipline every step of the way.

2. When you can’t change the situation, you can still change yourself.
Sometimes you have no choice but to accept whatever life sends your way. When that happens, the important thing is that you meet the situation with the best you have to give. Nothing more, nothing less.

3. Every leadership success story is laced with struggle.
Just because you’re struggling, it doesn’t mean you’re failing. Every great success requires some kind of struggle to get there. Use your difficulties and frustrations to motivate and inspire you. The true measure of your success is how many times you can bounce back from failure.

4. Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.
It doesn’t take long for a temporary slip in standards to become permanent—and when that happens, it becomes part of your character. Don’t accept excuses from yourself or allow yourself to slack off.

5. Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find yourself.
Even the wrong choices can bring us to the right places. To be creative and productive in life, you must first lose your resistance to being wrong. On the darkest path, there are lessons to learn and moments of grace to savor that you won’t find anywhere else.

6. Positivity fuels positivity; negativity fuels negativity.
Your ability to be positive hinges on your attitude—an external expression of your internal state. When you keep a positive orientation, you infuse your life with purpose, meaning and vitality in every situation.

7. When you help others you help yourself.
The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and goodwill to help others. Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others instead of asking “What’s in it for me?”

8. There’s no progress without a plan.
As the saying goes, if you fail to plan you are planning to fail. If you want to achieve results that you can document and point to, you need an achievable, measured, specific goal. Learning to set appropriate goals is a skill you can practice and learn.

9. There are things you can control and things you can’t.
Even though you cannot control much of what happens, you can control your attitude toward those events. When you do, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.

10. The key is not to spend time but to invest it.
All that really belongs to us is time. So treat your time as a precious and nonrenewable resource: treasure your time, invest it wisely and enjoy every moment. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination. Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.

11. Determination will get you through almost anything.
When things are tough, you have to be tougher. Simply refuse to give up, make sure you’re working hard, and keep it up until things improve. Replace your fears of what else could wrong with positivity about what could go right.

12. You are the only person responsible for your success.
You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously. Remember that all great achievements require time, and be patient with yourself on the journey.

LEAD FROM WITHIN: The principles in which we live by in our business and leadership they are the most important elements of our success and happiness.

N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Sumit Singh

    06. Nov, 2017

    Everyone not born with leadership quality but everyone can become the leader by hard work and with some principles which you have follow. Thanks Lolly Daskal for sharing these principles of leadership with us and one more thing Old is Gold and its true it never be old.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Asianwomanleadership

    14. Mar, 2019

    Half of US startups have no women on their leadership teams
    The most notable metrics of success in Silicon Valley—valuations, fundraising, decision-making power—still favor men. While women-led startups raised $12.4 billion in 2017 according to Pitchbook, an big increase over previous years, the gender gap remains large.

    Reply to this comment

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