7 Universal Principles that Explain the Persistent Problems of Leadership

Cat stretching.

If you're persistently exhausted, you're doing too many things.

7 universal principles:

#1. If you’re persistently exhausted, you’re doing too many things.

Reflections for exhausted leaders:

  1. What needs to be true for you to rest?
  2. What time will you stop working today?
  3. What frivolous activities distract you from meaningful work?
  4. Who might help?

#2. If you’re persistently frustrated, you’re a control freak.

Reflection for control freaks:

  1. What’s the worst that will happen if you stop trying to control things?
  2. Embrace reality. What can you control? What can’t you control?
  3. How might you trust someone today?

#3. If you’re persistently discouraged, you’re thinking about things you can’t do in the present.

Reflection for discouraged leaders:

  1. Evaluate plans by their actionability. If you can’t take action, set it aside.
  2. What small action will move the ball forward today? You don’t need a touchdown. You need a first down.

#4. If you’re persistently sad*, you’re thinking about yourself too much and others too little.

Reflection for sad leaders:

  1. What concerns do the people on your team carry?
  2. How are you expecting others to show you gratitude?

#5. If you’re persistently confused, you need to get your head out of your a**.

#6. If you’re persistently pushing people, you’re neglecting commitments.

People who need to be pushed are either incompetent, afraid, or uncommitted. Fear and incompetence are solved easier than lack of commitment.

Those who aren’t committed find fault. Those who are committed find a way.

Solution: explore shared commitments.

Ask, “How might I pull with you instead of pushing you?” Or, “What are your commitments today?” Dig until you find actionable responses.

#7. If you’re persistently negative, you’re ungrateful.

  1. Every time you’re negative, refocus on a point of gratitude.
  2. Begin a gratitude journal.
  3. Go on gratitude walkabouts.

If there’s a magic elixir in life, it’s gratitude.

Don’t wait to feel grateful to practice gratitude.

Which principle provides the best insight into leadership?

What principle would you add to this list?

*#4 has nothing to do with depression.