We all get in our way sometimes and leaders are no different. Just because we know we shouldn’t do something doesn’t always mean we won’t do it. However, not all mistakes are created equal. There are fifteen things a leader should strive never to do:
The most successful business owners I know are focused on building great companies and/or fulfilling an important mission instead of just making money. Financial success should be the end result not the driving force. This becomes especially apparent after the business experiences some level of economic success. Instead of becoming greedy and short term focused these leaders often double down and invest surplus resources in continuing to grow the business and its people. They genuinely appreciate the importance and responsibility of having a positive impact on others and adding real value to their marketplace.
I appreciate the fact that there are a lot of “grey” areas in life. Not everything is black and white. Sometimes there are mitigating circumstances and/or good reasons why people act they way they do. Everything doesn’t always fits into a neat little box of appropriate behavior; however there are some things that are almost always unacceptable despite the circumstances. There is a reason why all religions are typically based on a foundation of common morality and expected ethical behavior. Whether the leaders of these religions actually they live up to their own principles is another issue altogether.
There seems to be a dearth of good strong corporate values these days (and basic common sense). While the objective of any business should be to make a good profit, it should also be to build long term sustaining economic value that accurately reflects the risks inherent in their internal and external environments. The best way to navigate these risks is to have a strong sense of who you are and what you will and will not do.
It all starts at the top. Whether you are a politician, government official, leading hedge fund executive, Wall Street banker, corporate CEO, small business owner, college president, sports coach, professional athlete, teacher, parent, etc., your actions do matter! Strong Ethics aren’t a luxury but a requirement of any well run business, organization, community, classroom and family. Behaviors do ultimately have consequences. And, even though you may win in the short term by always putting your needs first, not playing by the rules or stretching the boundaries of what’s acceptable, ultimately it will catch up with you and sadly have adverse consequences for others in your life.