9 Positive Leadership Maxims

Being a great leader is more than a job—it’s a way of approaching life. It can sometimes be a challenging lifestyle, and can even be discouraging. Here are 9 positive leadership maxims to energize you in your leadership role.

1. To make a difference, be the difference.

Are you practicing the changes you want to see in your team? Leading your team by example is a powerful way to lead.

2. Leadership is showing people not that they MUST take a certain action but that they GET TO take that action.

The way we word something can make a huge difference in perception and motivation. “I chose you for this and here’s why it’s an opportunity…” sounds and feels better than “I need you or want you to do something…”

3. To get the best out of people, embrace the best in them.

What gifts and talents do your team members bring to the table? Are you leveraging those effectively? Consider making a list of each team member and what they do best, and look for new ways to use those abilities to enhance your team’s performance and success.

4. It’s not so much what you say as a leader that’s important; it’s your ability to inspire action that matters.

What are you doing to energize your team in meetings? Do they leave a meeting feeling excited to get to work on the next project? Use the last few minutes of each team meeting to inspire your team and instill some excitement for the tasks ahead. Connect what you’re doing to real life. How is your business making a difference in the world, and how do your employees’ actions directly contribute to that?

5. Half the art of listening is waiting.

Sometimes just giving people that extra pause before speaking shows them you’re truly open to what they have to say. It can indicate that you’re not only listening but also processing what they share.

6. If you are always right, you are usually wrong.

Nobody is perfect, and nobody is right all the time. One of the quickest ways to destroy trust with your team is by refusing to admit when you’re wrong. You may not always be ready to acknowledge it, but your team probably already knows you’ve made a mistake.  The great news is that being humble enough to admit mistakes and correct course with your team will actually help build trust and better position your team for success.

7. The best leaders make use of the simplest of ideas.

Complex ideas can take a lot of energy to explain and to convey to others. But a simple idea that can be explained in just a few words? It’s more memorable, more energizing and easier to pass on to others.

8. Leadership is seeing hope in any adversity.

In leadership, you don’t have to expect the worst, you just have to make the most of it when it happens. It might take some practice to learn to see the positives in any situation, but not only will it help to energize you to face a problem, it will bring that energy to your team. It will help the group have confidence that you can overcome it together.

9. We ourselves are our own biggest obstacles to becoming better leaders.

It’s easy to spend all your time focusing on goals and building up your team members, but don’t neglect your most critical team member: you! Take time regularly to self-assess. Are you getting enough rest? Do you need to make changes to your own work or life? It might seem backwards to slow down a little bit in order to give yourself proper self-care, but you’ll be a much stronger, more effective leader when you are well-rested and healthy.

It’s also important to regularly assess your leadership abilities. If you find you get stuck having the same conversation or experiencing the same problem over and over, it may be that you need a new approach to the issue. Seek new assessment and training opportunities to sharpen your leadership skills and become a more effective leader.

How to Become a More Effective Leader

I hope these 9 positive leadership maxims help put a new spring in your step and feel more motivated and energized for the exciting things your team will accomplish this year.

If you’re looking for ways to grade your current leadership ability and target growth based on your potential, I recommend the DISC (What’s Your Color?) Leadership Report. This test takes about ten minutes and identifies your leadership strengths as well as potential that’s not being leveraged and opportunities for growth. The step-by-step results show leaders exactly what to do—and stop doing—to unleash their team’s potential and maximize personal effectiveness.


Ingrid Kelada

Owner of KCC Positive Business Psychology & Happiness Expert