Below are some common foundational elements of leadership and management. This is primarily “a top of mind” list based on my experience. This list is neither comprehensive nor unique to me.

Leadership matters—people-based, results-driven; provide direction, remove obstacles; be accountable and responsible for everything that does or does not happen; take blame; give credit; be action-oriented; lead change; systematize; develop leaders; be authentic—to thine own self be true

Know the business

Know the industry

Attract and retain talent and build the team—they are the ones that get the results

Relationships mattertrust, transparency and alignment

Communicate a lot, especially listen

Collaborate constantly

Delegate authority and responsibility (accountability cannot be delegated)

Don’t tolerate micromanagement or bureaucratic nonsense

Focus on a clear and simple mission

Focus on results (outcomes), not process—oriented on a few, simple, elegant performance measures that drive the mission

Focus on continuous improvement

Focus on evidence-based decision-making

Be frugal—spend money as though it is your own

Leverage technology, and allow for changes in technology

Develop economies of scale

Develop feedback loops

Develop simple, elegant, consistent messaging

Develop simple, actionable focused reports

Balance everything against risks

Balance change, directives and control with empowerment, delegation, trust and relationships

Recognize individual and team success—this raises them as an example to others and themselves

Always use simple courtesy and appreciation—say thank you

Celebrate success and have fun

Feel free to add other items to this list or develop your own list of leadership and management foundational elements. What’s important is to be mindful of the foundational elements that work for you so that you can reflect and improve them. Leadership and management are aspirational goals that are never achieved or finished.

“Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance.”

-J. Donald Waters

“Leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned.”

-Harold S. Geneen

“The leader is one who mobilizes others toward a goal shared by leaders and followers… Leaders, followers and goals make up the three equally necessary supports for leadership.”

-Gary Willis