I can still vividly remember reciting the Navy’s Leadership Principles by memory while my squad leader was inches from my face during freshmen orientation for the Navy ROTC program at the University of Washington. Though I can no longer recite them from memory, the Navy's 11 Leadership Principles have stuck with me, giving me guidance well into my life as an entrepreneur:
- Know your people and look out for their welfare.
- Keep your people informed.
- Know yourself and seek self-improvement.
- Be technically and tactically proficient.
- Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.
- Make sound and timely decisions.
- Set the example.
- Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates.
- Ensure that the task is understood, supervised, and accomplished.
- Train your people as a team.
- Employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities.
When I was an 18 year old midshipman, the principles were something that I had to learn for inspections. However, during my career, they have become guidelines for me when I have had the privilege to lead.
I also judge some of my bosses by whether their actions follow the principles. Take a look at the principles and think of the managers that you work for during your career. If you find them violating the principles, inherently you have judged them as poor mangers. Conversely, if you find them following the principles, I’m sure you've labeled them as good leaders.