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Leadership Principles of Colin Powell

Colin Powell created many smart leadership principles which guide people in everyday life. There are three which I find the most effective and useful because they help one to be more determined and hard-working while combining their passion with leadership traits.

The first principle is “Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it.” This principle relates to a person developing an objective and honest perception of oneself without relying on one’s job. In other words, we have to be people first so that despite our jobs or positions which can be easily taken away, our personalities and unique traits which help us move further will always stay there with us. For instance, a person may be a manager of a big company leading hundreds of employees and enjoying his/her ruling position. The person may become so absorbed into his/her managing role that he or she may be a manager in other areas of life, and that is not necessarily good. The individual may develop certain traits and expect special things simply because of his or her work position. Then, the person may lose the job, but he or she will not settle for something lower than management position again, and he or she will keep the high demands for people around him/her much to their distress. In this situation, the person will struggle finding a job, building healthy relations with people, and having an objective view on reality. In order to avoid that, one always has to separate their job from their personality and realize that despite doing something at work, these things do not determine the rest of the person’s life.

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Another important principle is “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” It means that with an optimistic view on life and determination, there is nothing a person cannot do because his or her energy multiplies constantly and a huge flow of enthusiasm fills the person. In other words, as long as we are optimistic about something, we will find a way to accomplish our task. The following is an example of a truly motivated person who, instead of searching for excuses not to do something, finds tools and options for achieving the set objective. A student eager to study in a university can achieve his or her goal thanks to the optimism. He or she may figure out a way to get a scholarship by doing many social activities and running social causes. Thus, the student will be optimistic about things he/she is doing and will also be able to involve many people into this cause. With such optimism, a person will be able to spread it to others and make his/her idea relevant. Thus, the person will not only be able to qualify for the chosen scholarship; he or she will also find something he or she loves doing and will keep on working on social projects motivating and encouraging others as well as getting his/her own inspiration.

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The third principle is “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.” This principle says that in order to lead, one has to be understood by others as well as propose a solution people can imagine. Steve Jobs is a good example of a leader who gave people an easy solution to their needs. They all wanted a computer which would be small, easy to use, modern, beautiful, and innovative. Many different companies tried to meet these demands, but it was Jobs’ Apple that popularized and mass-produced iPads for customers who got exactly what they wanted. In this case, Jobs acted as a leader because he was able to provide people with what they wanted and simplify things, and that explains Apple’s success in many other situations, too (Kalla, 2012).

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Hence, it is easy to see that the described principles have to be implemented in order for one to be an effective leader and succeed in things they are doing.

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