Top 4 leadership principles

Top 4 Leadership principles

If these four principles are not at the top of your leadership
list, nothing else matters.

SJ White

We are all leaders :

In this journey, we call life everybody’s a leader whether they choose to be or not. Even more so if we have people who depend on us like family, friends, or co-workers? If you don’t believe that look around you. Where you are today in life is where you’ve led yourself and where you’ll be tomorrow is where you’re going to lead yourself, therefore, the more we understand leadership and what it can do for our lives, both personally and professionally, the better off we are. No matter if you’re in a leadership position at work or the head of a family, mastering our top four principles will make you stand out when it comes to character. Even if the only person you want to lead is you.    


The top 4:

No matter what type of leader you are, visionary, directional, strategic, managerial, motivational, team-builder, there is one common denominator that brush strokes them all, and that common denominator is our top 4 leadership principles: 1. integrity, 2. loyalty, 3. reliability, and 4. ability. One of the biggest challenges for the top leader of any organization is to make sure the leaders below them are in the right leadership position. No one can afford to waste time trying to turn a visionary leader into a managing leader, it’s counterproductive. Even more counterproductive is a leader who doesn’t have our top four leadership principles at the top of their list. If they don’t, it’s a formula for disaster, especially if they’re missing number one, integrity. They may be able to fake the other three for a little while. There is no faking number one. You can either be trusted, or not, and no one wants to deal with someone they don’t trust. 


Titles don’t make a leader: 

I believe most of you would agree that the one word that best describes leadership, is influence. Our ability to influence others determines our level of success. Acquiring followers is what leaders do and that takes influence. I believe we can also agree that just because someone is in a leadership position, appointed, elected, or otherwise, doesn’t necessarily make them a leader. They may have the title, but titles don’t make a leader. Influence does. If they’re not influencing anyone, all their doing is shaking hands, handing out orders, and collecting a paycheck. If you have a family and you’re not the influencer of your children, you need to take a closer look at your leadership skills. If there is a crack in the armor, you need to patch it up. 


Leading at the highest level:

What we are looking for in a leader is someone who makes us feel as if we are a part of something special. That what we do matters. They listen, they care, and they love and appreciate people. They know how to lead at the highest level and the people who follow them know it as well. This applies whether you are the leader of a corporation or the head of your family. 


Fortune 500: 

There was an article in a fortune 500 magazine quite a few years ago, where they interviewed top executives from all around the country.When asked what they believed was the most important thing concerning their leadership? Their number one answer was also number one on our top four list of leadership principles, integrity. They said once you lose trust, it’s over. You may still be in a leadership position, but you’re nobody’s leader. All you’re doing is taking a walk.

How to spot a great leader:

You can spot a great leader by who they spend most of their time with on the job. The great ones spend eighty percent of their time with the twenty percent of employees who are the most productive, and twenty percent of their time with the eighty percent who are not. That’s because great leaders are out to grow more leaders. They know leaders multiply, they also know the best way to grow any organization is to grow the people within that organization. Separating the people who have the potential to become leaders from those who are only there to collect a paycheck, is something great leaders are good at. They can spot a jack-ass who is only in it for the money, a mile away.

The top 4 leadership principles: 

If you’re a leader or aspiring to become one, commit to putting the top four leadership principles at the top of your leadership list: 1. Integrity, 2. Loyalty, 3. Reliability, and 4. Ability. Notice I put ability last. That’s because if you don’t get the first three down, nobody will care how much ability you have. By the way, if you should ever lose your integrity, be forewarned, it takes years to recover. 

The big 4 breakdown: 

Integrity: People need to know they can trust their leader. 

Loyalty: Leaders have an allegiance to the vision of the people they work with. 

Reliability: You can count on them no matter what the situation.

Ability: Leaders make things happen. Wherever there is a leader there is movement. 


As we all know, there is a lot more to leadership than integrity, loyalty, reliability, and ability. There’s self-discipline, personal initiative, attitude, enthusiasm, active faith, to name a few. But if you don’t get the four main ones down, especially number one, integrity, you might as well go home because no one in their right mind follows a leader they don’t trust. Now don’t expect your leader to tell you all their business, but whatever they do tell you, it better be the truth, because in the leadership game, you only get one swing at the integrity ball, and if you miss, you’re out.

Stay in the game:

If our top 4 leadership principles are not at the top of your leadership list you need to reconsider. They not only determine how well you lead, they determine how long. Missing any one of these four can put your leadership in jeopardy. Missing number one can knock you out of the ball-game.

Leadership tips to keep in mind:

  • Your growth will determine your organization’s growth.
  • Pay the price: Integrity, loyalty, reliability, ability.
  • Develop a meaningful relationship with those you lead.
  • Mentor, model, and give them the tools they need to succeed.
  • Share your vision
  • Develop a strategy for equipping your people for success.
  • Keep an eye on yourself. Make sure you are continually growing. No one can pass on what they don’t have. As a leader, you better have something to pass on.  

                     SJ White

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