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How 11 Leadership Principles Can Help You with Cancer

11 Leadership Principles

What 11 Leadership Principles Can Teach You about Cancer

In 1951, the 11 leadership principles were published in the Army Field Manual on Leadership.  In spite of the 11 leadership principles publication date, these principles are relevant today.  These 11 leadership principles can help you recover from cancer.  In this post, I will examine each one of these 11 leadership principles and how they can be helpful in your recovery effort.

  1. Know Yourself and Seek Improvement

This first principle is twofold.  First, you must learn about yourself and your character attributes.  The key to understanding yourself on a different level is with the aid of the leadership skills list.  This list can help you determine your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.  It will help by considering your background.  Your experience can highlight the potential that you possess.

The second piece of the first principle is seeking improvement.  Improvement can come from a variety of sources.  One method for improvement comes from reading.  Another technique comes from observation of behavior patterns of yourself and those of others.  Next, ask for feedback from those inside your circle who have an understanding of you.

Upon gaining knowledge of your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities develop a strategic approach to leverage your abilities.  It is important to focus on one aspect or attribute one at a time.

My experience suggests that you consider those influential people in your life.  Create a list of people you admire.  After you form this list of key individuals, state the reason for your admiration.  Try to identify trends in your reasoning for admiration.  These themes are helpful in establishing goals.  When I did this exercise, I realized that I had an appreciation for teachers.  With this in mind, I set the goal of becoming a professional educator and become a college professor.

  1. Be Technically and Tactically Proficient

After establishing the goals you have for yourself, learn about the goal in greater depth.  There are usually different manners to achieve your goal.  Research the different paths to achieve your goal.  You will likely find that brainstorming helps you identify paths that were originally unclear.  Combining these paths can help you develop the strengths to be effective and successful in goal attainment.

When researching your available paths to goal achievement, consider successful people in the industry or niche.  Model yourself after these individuals.  Reach out to these people and ask the questions.  Successful people who have accomplished the goals you set can offer guidance and possibly coach you.

Think about joining professional associations so that you can consider gaining access to these individuals.  Community involvement is an approach that can work wonders.

As I set out to be a professional educator, I began by considering my background.  At the time I was diagnosed with cancer, I realized that I already possessed a master’s degree in my field.  I chose to use this asset and proceeded to pursue a doctoral degree.  At the same time, I reached out to other teachers at different levels.  They helped me become aware of the need for substitute teaching.  I used this as an outlet to form professional relationships, build my background, and gain experience.

  1. Know Your Team and Consider Their Welfare

Attempt to gain an appreciation for those individuals inside your circle.  You need to gain a deep understanding of people.  This means examining the strengths and weaknesses of your team.  Next, consider their passions and desires.

When you understand your team and can provide tasks that match with their strengths and passions you will find success.  You can help to ensure that you set your team up for wins.  As you team experience these wins, they begin to gain confidence that will come in handy with bigger challenges.

When you face a challenge like cancer, you can lose confidence in your abilities.  Cancer is designed to destroy the body as it attaches and destroys your cells.

When you attempt to overcome this challenge, it is vital to match your strengths with your passions.  For this reason, if you are following the 11 leadership principles you have set goals, learned about yourself, and identified manners to reach your goals.  When you match and combine these elements, you will begin to build new confidence as you take one action at a time.

  1. Stay Informed

One of your responsibilities is to be and stay informed.  You should communicate effectively so that others area clear about your progress.  Communication should occur with individuals who have a stake in your development.  This means that you should be honest with yourself as well.  Clear communication will allow you to accomplish different goals in your journey.

For example, in my situation, as I spoke with other teachers I would explain my progress.  My progress began with enrollment in a doctoral program.  I would then convey the struggles I was experiencing with others.  This allowed people to offer support as necessary.  As my graduation timeline was altered due to these difficulties, I would provide a set of new expectations to these individuals.  By being honest and open with others in the field, they were able to make plans to incorporate my skills in other areas that have been helpful in building my experience.

  1. Set an Example

As a leader, your job is to be an example for others.  When considering yourself as an example, be aware of your appearance, attitude, and health to name a few.  People are evaluating you and your behavior.  Others want to know that you are true to your word.  Staying true to your word demonstrates your commitment and is one of the 11 leadership principles.

To develop this principle, you should be concerned with your health and demonstrate your passion for your new goal.  Remember, as a cancer patient you suffered a health setback.  People have an interest in knowing that you are fit, both physically and mentally.  It is also necessary to be enthusiastic about your goals.  Help others see why this new goal is important to you.

  1. Train and Prepare

To reach your goal you need to take action every day to bring yourself closer to your definite purpose.  Each step you take brings you closer to goal achievement.  Many of the hours that it will take you to arrive at your destination will include preparing.  Preparation helps you seize the day when the opportunity arises.  This particular principle works in coordination with the others.  Preparing is a subset of the other 11 leadership principles.

  1. Make Decisions

You should know what it takes to achieve your goal more than anyone else.  If you do not possess the knowledge, it is your job to research everything so that you understand the challenges that will likely prevent you from reaching your destination.  This deep understanding allows you to analyze problems quickly and make necessary changes.  It is important to be ready to make decisions.  Use the information you have and respond accordingly.  If you find that you are lacking information or made a poor decision, reevaluate.

To enhance this leadership principle develop a strategic thought process and plan for emergencies.  Practice asking for feedback.  Consider asking for input from others if in doubt.  Do not be afraid to ask for input.  Remember this is your goal, your dream, take initiative and make decisions for your situation.

  1. Be Responsible

    11 leadership principles

    Be Responsible and Aware of Your Surroundings

Don’t just seek professional development opportunities but get involved.  You will not arrive at your destination if you look at everything through a window.  This is your life, and you owe to yourself to make the most of your life.  Have faith in your abilities and your experience.  Preparation allows you to be responsible for your actions.  Responsibility failure frequently stems from a lack of preparation.

In my cancer battle, I would think about those individuals who were undergoing their battle with cancer.  I may not have had faith initially in the outcome of my treatment, but with time this attitude changed.  As I began to look at life through a positive lens, I changed my leadership slogan.  I felt like I owe it to those individuals who did not have an opportunity in life after their cancer diagnosis.  I learned to be responsible for my outcome in life and live life to the fullest for those who were not given a chance.

Develop this leadership principle by understanding processes. Know how long each phase of the process lasts.  Recognize your accomplishments.  Use your experience to help serve others.  Being responsible for your life and helping others will be a rewarding experience.

  1. Instill Responsibility in Others

As you become comfortable in your abilities, reach out and challenge others.  One way to do this is to set a goal and encourage participation from others.  Take the time to learn and appreciate the value in other people.  When you take the time to get to know people life is more rewarding, and you begin to have more to offer.

  1. Leverage Your Abilities

Each person has their strengths.  You need to match strengths with the challenge ahead.  If you are unable to leverage your strength to match the task, develop a strategy to limit the exposure of your weaknesses.  You want to set yourself up for success.

If a job calls for a person who possesses X attribute which you are missing, say no.  Instead, volunteer for another task.  Considering helping someone else and collaborating.  When you work together with another person, you may find the task more enjoyable.  You also have the ability to learn from those who possess experience that you lack.

  1. Challenge Yourself 11 Leadership Principles

Life is rewarding when you set a high bar and accomplish your goals.  Set a goal and realize that accomplishments are a journey and not a destination.  When you reach your objectives, set new ones.  Keep raising the bar and don’t give up.  At the end of the day, the only person who has to live with themselves is you.  If you give up on you, others will do the same.

Don’t settle for the status quo.  Learn how you can make yourself better and work towards these goals.  Apply for new positions and continue to challenge yourself.  Each new opportunity will begin as a challenge.  Over the course of time, you will feel more comfortable and capable as you come closer and closer to being the best version of you.


List of Leadership Qualities That You Want to Avoid

list of personal qualities

Bad List of Leadership Qualities

A quick search on the internet and you will find a list of leadership qualities relatively quickly.  The list of personal qualities will range from the top 3 list of good qualities to the top 10 and even extend to more than 100.  I am going to try and take an opposing view and compile a list of bad qualities.  This list will be offset by “The Complete List of Extraordinary Leadership Qualities” by Dan Rockwell.

List of Personal Qualities: Comparing and Contrasting a List of Good Qualities to those of a List of Bad Qualities list of leadership qualities

  1. Day Dreamer vs. Face reality.

Daydreamers tend to be aloof while those who face reality tend to be analytical and data driven.  Daydreamers have their place as it can help with arriving at innovative thoughts.  However, leaders who are routine daydreamers will find that they lose sight of their goals and lack awareness for their surroundings.

  1. Lack communication skills vs. Define “better.”

Leaders who are unable to articulate their thoughts will find a difficult time inspiring those around them.  Their followers will be unable to understand the best method for achieving the organizational mission.  Meanwhile, a leader who can define “better” will strive to motivate others to achieve top performance.  Followers will not have to guess what better means, they will be able to anticipate the needs of the leader.

  1. My way or the highway vs. Live organizational values.

Leaders need to put the values of the organization at the forefront.  Leaders who are self-obsessed prioritize their needs of ahead of the organization or those of the team.  This will generate resentment and frustration on behalf of the team.  My way or the highway leaders will find a lack of connection with team members.

  1. Demand vs. Serve.

Demanding or authoritarian leaders can be successful in some settings.  For example, military leaders can get away with this leadership style.  For other industries, Workers will not appreciate this type of style.  Authoritarian leaders will tend to raise angst and workplace retention will follow and lead to unnecessary problems.  Whereas, as servant leaders will help model valued workplace behaviors.  When followers see that you are pulling up your shirt sleeves and contributing to the success of the organization, it will build goodwill and workplace engagement will rise.

  1. Settle vs. Reach high.

Leaders who settle will never progress.  It is easy to avoid stressful situations and avoid asking challenging questions.  If you are a leader, who chooses to settle than perhaps you should consider reducing your stress and be a follower instead.  Those leaders who reach high reflect and pursue new challenges.  The pursuit of these problems allows the leader and the organization to progress, increase sales and offer new opportunities to followers.

  1. Pass the buck vs. Take responsibility.

Followers do not appreciate receiving blame when they are not responsible or have little control over the outcome.  A leader who does not represent or support their team is bound to find that they are unable to hold a leadership position for long.  As a leader, it is wise to take responsibility for the outcome of a situation when things go wrong.  On the other hand, when a team accomplishes a goal, gratitude should be shared to all the individuals who made it possible.

  1. Avoid decisions vs. Make decisions.

Leaders may not make decisions quickly all the time.  There are appropriate circumstances to wait, reflect, or collect data before making a decision.  Racing to make a decision may be unwise.  Leaders are not afraid of making decisions.  Knowing what you do not want or what to eliminate can help you make a decision.

  1. Accepting Taoist philosophy vs. Set goals.

Taoism is more than a spiritual or philosophical belief but rather a way of life.  Taoism is about accepting the path or way rather than studying the challenges and struggles found in life.  In other words, a leader following Taoist philosophy will accept things the way they are and appreciate them for what they offer.  Business appears to be at odds with Taoist philosophy.  The goal of business is to increase sales or expand operations in some sense which is at odds with letting things be.  To be successful leaders need to set goals not only for themselves but the organization in general.

  1. Act with shyness vs. Act with boldness.

Introverts are capable of being leaders, but this relies on placing key people in visible positions who support the leader.  In this sense, leaders who are introverts act behind the scenes.  In a play, they have no desire to be in the leading role and find more comfort doing there leading behind the curtains.  If leading from behind the curtains or playing the starring role does not suit you due to shyness, you will struggle.  Leaders are visible in some capacity because they act with boldness.

  1. Inflexible vs. Adapt.

Leaders who are inflexible tend to be status quo keepers.  While this may be fine in an environment with little competition or highly regulated industries, this will not be a long-term solution in other environments.  The reason is that your audience continues to evolve due to the likes of technology advancements.  Your competition also strives to address the needs of those they are trying to serve and are continually evolving and adapting to market changes.  Those who are willing to adapt and evolve will find an easier time of being responsive and employing the benefits found with new technology.

  1. Fail to meet goals vs. Deliver results.

The point of setting goals is not to take the time to develop goals only to lower them eventually because you fall short.  As a leader success only comes to those who can deliver results not just periodically but consistently over the long term.  Leaders who are not capable of meeting the objectives they set will eventually lead to weariness in followers.

  1. Fail to track the things that matter vs. Measure progress.

Failing to monitor progress and using the wrong metric are the same.  When tracking performance, it is important to align the performance metric with those of the goals.  The measurement of progress should support the goals.  Leaders understand that measurement of achievement is necessary and spend the time to identify which metric is the best indicator of success.

  1. Personally lack motivation vs. Instill confidence in others.

Individuals who cannot motivate themselves will not be able to empower and encourage others.  Followers will see that the leader lacks personal motivation and transparency will be evident to the members who are scrutinizing the actions of those they choose to follow.  The top leaders instill confidence in others and empower them to achieve great feats.

  1. Closed mindedness vs. Listen.

Closed minded leaders are those individuals who do not welcome the input of others.  Some leaders get stuck in a rut and view their surroundings through tunnel vision.  Closed mindedness deters input and will limit the potential of the team.  Leaders must listen to their team members.  Listening to others allows the organization to benefit from the collective knowledge.  Collective knowledge is the process of welcoming input and using the ideas of many people to address organizational problems with a solution that comes from the diversity of thought.

  1. Suspicion vs. Trust.

Have you ever worked for a micro manager?  Micro managers always look of your should and question the actions you take.  Micro managers view others as untrustworthy.  They empower you with a short leash.  They give you enough leeway to hang yourself before getting involved and taking over.  Suspicious leaders do not allow others to create results in fear of the position they hold.

  1. Shallow network vs. Connect.

Leaders with a shallow network tend to trust only a select group of people.  Their circle of trust is limited to a few.  Meanwhile, leaders who like to form connections take the time to learn about the skills and passions of others.  They utilize this knowledge to benefit the team as they assign tasks to those people who possess specific expertise or interests.

  1. Do not appreciate assistance vs. Receive help.

The best leaders ensure that important projects receive the necessary support to be successful.  Leaders do not always accept help themselves.  The problems they face become less important and they choose not to burden others by receiving help.  If you are aware of your needs, it becomes easier to receive help.  By accepting help, the leader can free themselves to focus on other important matters.

  1. Controlling vs. Delegate.

Organizations benefit from leaders who are good delegators.  Delegation allows leaders to address multiple tasks while providing experience and additional leadership opportunities to others.  Controlling leaders, on the other hand, limit organization involvement.  Controlling leaders may be able to fight one fire, but another may be present in another location.  Controlling leaders are found on the ground floor while leaders who delegate fly above and can locate opportunities for improvement.

  1. Unclear expectations vs. Provide abundant feedback.

Unclear expectations can result in a lack of priority.  Followers may find that they either focus on an incorrect task or accomplish a project only too late find that the leader wanted it done differently.  Frustrations ensure when expectations are unclear.  The challenge for leaders is to communicate and provide ongoing feedback.  Feedback allows others to develop and feel like a valuable part of the team.  Feedback helps to remove frustrations and provides a doorway for two-way communication with the leader.

  1. Limit organizational strengths vs. Leverage areas of above average intelligence.

Leaders who can match individual strengths and interests with organizational demands will achieve great results.  While an average person may be able to accomplish a task, the result will be less superior to those of a person with a specific core strength or interest.  Leaders who leverage areas of above average intelligence do so because they listen and have developed a list of good qualities of their followers.

  1. Uneducated vs. Learn persistently.

Learning is a lifelong journey.  Leaders who accept and teach persistently will develop existing strengths while developing new abilities.  Those who are uneducated will not find value in collecting and using data.  Ignorant leaders will tend to waste resources.  For example, uneducated leaders will assign the wrong person to a task or provide projects with to many people leading to wasted time.

  1. Selfish vs. Develop leaders.

Any bad list of leadership qualities should include leaders who are selfish or self-absorbed.  Leaders find their place and possess this responsibility because their focus in upon organizational objectives.  They also spend energy on team members who allow the organization to execute plans and activities that support the corporate mission.  In order for leaders to accomplish this task they cannot be self-centered rather they must show concern for developing future leaders.

  1. Low emotional intelligence vs. Possess high EQ – behave authentically.

There was a time in history when leaders could get away with little emotional intelligence.  This was a time when people started and stopped working at the same business for their entire career.  Nowadays, leaders need to be emotionally aware of their followers.  The consequence of a little emotional intelligence is a high turnover rate as employees seek to be emotionally fulfilled and feel as though they have connection to a greater purpose.

  1. Bad hygiene vs. Take care of yourself.

Leaders who do not take care of themselves are unable to care for others over a sustainable period.  Leaders must find the equilibrium or balance in caring for themselves with caring for their followers.  There are different seasons that allow you to change your priorities depending on the goals and or challenges that arise.

  1. Fail to recognize others contributions vs. Praise, give credit, and celebrate progress.

Credit for positive performance and accomplishments must be spread across the team.  The team will continue to make progress as long as they feel like a valuable component of the organization.  When you forget about team recognition, members will slowly consider other options where they are awarded for their contributions.

  1. Greed vs. Generosity.

The last characteristic on this bad list of leadership qualities is greed.  Greedy leaders will have a negative impact on the morale of the team and in the eyes of the customers.  Employees and consumers both want to know that they support an organization with a purpose they can support.  This means that leaders need to give back to the team and communities they serve to build goodwill.

Moving from Good to Great: The Characteristics of a Leader

Charactersitics of a leader

Characteristics of a leader

The characteristics of a leader contribute to their success or demise.  If you were to take these characteristics of a good leader and classify them, they would fall into one of three areas.  According to research by Al Gini and Ronald M. Green, the three critical characteristics of leadership are character, stewardship, and experience.

There is no particular recipe for leadership success or failure.  While some industries may demand a specific skill set or place significance on individual elements of leadership, it is not the same across the board.  The skills necessary to be a successful leader in the healthcare field will be different from those necessary for education or construction.  Ultimately, the characteristics of a leader capable of achieving success are fluid or always changing.

If you were to freeze the clock at a given moment, analyzing a small industry, you might be able to find traits that current leaders possess.  Moving ahead to a different era you may see similar results with slight deviations.

Why do characteristics of a good leader change?

Leadership skills capable of generating great results allowing a company to move from good to great occurs because of changes in the industry.

Three major areas that force change is:

  1. Technology

Even industries that are thought to be boring, slow, and dull can benefit from innovative ideas.  Innovation forces leaders to rethink their systems and processes.  These technological shifts force leaders who were previously successful in situations that they may find uncomfortable and challenging.  Conversely, these predicaments are opportunities for new leaders to emerge that possess a different skill set.

  1. Customer Demands

All businesses have customers they are trying to serve.  Those companies who fail to listen to their customer needs can lose business.  As a leader, it is imperative to not only listen to the messages from your clients but also respond.  Leaders who find themselves unable to make changes as necessary will surely find themselves searching for other opportunities outside their existing company.

  1. The Next Generation

The next generation also encourages leaders to consider their strengths and weaknesses.  Your characteristics and approaches that allowed you to connect with workers in the past may no longer be well received.  The next generation will make you examine your style and adapt in new ways.

The Journey of the Hero

As followers, we tend to see leaders as idols, somebody to put on a pedestal.  Leaders are individuals we model ourselves after in hopes of reaching that same accomplishment level.  We want to dream of being the next great idol, serving as role model for others.  This is the result of pushing ourselves and others to achieve great feats.

Keep in mind that no great leader assumes that role overnight.  The characteristics of a leader that put us in the limelight are the same ones that others are analyzing and dissecting.  People admire leaders just as much as they analyze and deconstruct their abilities.

Joseph Campell, an anthropologist, studying the influence of the hero’s quest suggests that groups, no matter their place in history has pursued the notion of the hero.  According to this perspective, it is okay to evaluate the characteristics of a leader and substitute their place in exchange for the hero.

The search for what comprise the characteristics of a leader is necessary.  For example, there are 176,496 book results about leadership appearing on Amazon alone.

Additional research shows:

18 Characteristics of a Good Leader Charactersitics of a leader Characteristics of a good LeaderCharacteristics of a good Leader

Emotional Stability

This aspect is critical to controlling the attitude around the workplace.  A leader who visibly display emotional swings can act as a catalyst for confusion, paranoia, and frustration of workers making leadership a challenging endeavor. Characteristics of a good Leader


A good leader will not only push themselves to reach high standards but encourage and motivate their followers for better results.


It is important to gather information, analyze the data, and make a decision.  You will not always have all the information or the most recent data for that matter.  You need to listen to your gut instinct, make a decision, and stick by it long enough to see if it works.  Upon reevaluation of the problem considering making amendments to the plan.


Followers want to pursue a path and direction that does not appear risky, dangerous, or treacherous.  Even if this path is bound to encounter challenges and hurdles, followers need reassurance.  One of the manners that leaders can offer this reassurance is through assertiveness.


A leader’s intuition stems from their knowledge and or experience.  A leader who has a background in a situation will find it easier to acquire trust and confidence in those they lead.


Any chance a follower will support an individual who appears wishy-washy or unsure of themselves.  Why you may think the answer is no, you are correct to some extent.  Followers may follower a leader for a brief period if the person is new to problem or predicament.  However, this patience is not unending.  A leader must gain the confidence of their peers by taking intentional or deliberate actions.

High Standards

A leader who allows themselves or others to drift will eventually discover deteriorating performance over time.  The key to establishing high standards is through consistency over time.  A leader who continually reminds their team of organizational goals is more apt to find success in the long run.

Tough Minded

Competition along with internal and external forces shape corporate operations.  Leaders to need to be tough-minded to overcome obstacles.  When challenges arise, leaders cannot get down on themselves or the team.  Instead, a person in this position must encourage and motivate others so that they proceed taking one step at a time.


Confidence is a fundamental component to anyone in a leadership role.  If you ask an individual what is leadership?  You will find that the person must be confident and not only believe in their abilities but the skills and attributes of team members.


Displaying energy and enthusiasm is not an easy chore for many people especially those who are introverts.  It is possible to succeed without visual demonstrations of energy toward solving a problem.  Possessing power allows you to follow the organizational mission with less resistance.  It helps you get up in the morning with excitement and preparedness to tackle the problems of the day.


Leaders who retaliate and fail to maintain their composure soon learn there is no one to lead.  The maturity of a leader accompanies many of these other leadership skills.

Team Oriented

While there is no I in the team, there is also no I in leadership.  The premise of leadership rests on the notion that individuals are ready to follow, help, and contribute to your vision.  Leaders who listen and respect their team will be able to achieve greater results that had they done things and taken actions on their own.


One of the characteristics of a leader is the ability to connect with those they lead on an emotional level.  This emotional connection is empathy.  Faking empathy will not endure you to others.  Individuals can see right through a person who is fake and is not an authentic leader.


Leadership in managing others occurs from the capacity to transfer authority.  Delegation contributes to leadership in some ways.  First, delegation allows leaders to focus on other tasks that team leaders may not be ready to accept or lack the necessary skills.  Second, delegation allows members of the team to gain confidence and develop their leadership abilities.  Delegation is a double-edged sword that can help the leader and other contributors when done well.


A leader without good communication is a mime trapped in a box.  Leadership begins with the ability to identify and communicate their mission and vision.  This connection extends to conversing with organizational members to set and achieve daily goals and objectives.  It is necessary for holding members accountable for their progress.  Although a good leader may not have to be statesmen, they need to form their message in a manner that is well received.


Is a leader capable of serving in this role without having any commitment?  A leader can be a substitute who may support the overall organizational values.  At a division level, they are still able to be functional without remaining committed or possessing a full understanding of these standards.  However, if a leader is in a long term permanent position they must find conviction and commit to the team and goals that lay ahead.

Positive Attitude

Why is that some work environments are more enjoyable than others?  One of the ways to establish a great working environment is through proper staffing.  Staffing starts with assembling a team with a leader who has a great can-do attitude that is capable of motivating their team.  Often followers resemble others inside the organization because they mesh well together and share many similar traits.


Leaders who take the time to understand the internal motivators of their team members are more likely to achieve great results.  This occurs because leaders can tap into these intrinsic motivators and help their followers connect the dots between performance drivers and achievement.

This list of characteristics of a good leader will help guide you in your personal development.