The 10 Commandments for Effective Leadership

4 min read
10 commandments for leadership

10 commandments for leadership

Effective leadership is more than just managing people – it’s about inspiring, influencing, and achieving together. Whether you’re at the helm of a startup, a nonprofit, or a global corporation, certain foundational principles can guide you to more impactful leadership. Here are the ten commandments that every leader should embrace to not only enhance their leadership skills but also foster a positive and productive organizational culture.

The 10 Commandments for Effective Leadership

  1. Thou Shalt Communicate Clearly and Often
    • Clear communication is the cornerstone of great leadership. Articulate your vision, expectations, and concerns regularly to keep everyone aligned and informed.
  2. Thou Shalt Lead by Example
    • Actions speak louder than words. Demonstrate the values, work ethic, and attitude you expect from your team. Your behavior sets the standard for others to follow.
  3. Thou Shalt Foster a Culture of Trust
    • Trust is critical for a healthy work environment. Show trust in your team’s abilities by delegating effectively and supporting autonomy in their roles.
  4. Thou Shalt Encourage Teamwork
    • Promote an environment where collaboration is valued over competition. Encourage team members to support each other and share successes and failures alike.
  5. Thou Shalt Be Decisive
    • Effective leaders make decisions confidently and take responsibility for the outcomes. Hesitation or ambiguity can undermine leadership and stall progress.
  6. Thou Shalt Remain Committed to Growth
  7. Thou Shalt Show Empathy
    • Understand and consider the feelings and perspectives of your team. Using Emotional Intelligence can help build your empathy. Empathy builds respect and loyalty and can lead to more effective problem-solving.
  8. Thou Shalt Provide Constructive Feedback
    • Regular, constructive feedback helps individuals grow and improve. Deliver it in a way that is helpful and encouraging, not critical or demeaning.
  9. Thou Shalt Recognize and Reward
    • Acknowledge individual and team achievements. Recognition not only boosts morale but also reinforces the behaviors you want to see in your organization.
  10. Thou Shalt Be Adaptable
    • The only constant is change. Be flexible and willing to adapt your strategies as necessary. This agility can help you navigate through challenges and seize opportunities.

Leadership Self-Assessment Tool

Instructions: Rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 5 for each statement, where:

  • 1 = Strongly Disagree
  • 2 = Disagree
  • 3 = Neutral
  • 4 = Agree
  • 5 = Strongly Agree

Self-Assessment Questions:

  1. Communicate Clearly and Often
    • I clearly articulate goals and expectations to my team.
    • I ensure that I communicate important issues and updates to stakeholders effectively.
    • I maintain open lines of communication and am approachable for discussions.
  2. Lead by Example
    • I model the behaviors and work ethic I expect from my team.
    • I show resilience in facing challenges and engage in tasks alongside my team.
    • I maintain professionalism and uphold standards even when under pressure.
  3. Foster a Culture of Trust
    • I delegate tasks effectively, showing trust in my team’s abilities to handle responsibilities.
    • I am open and transparent with my team, which helps in building mutual trust.
    • I support my team’s decisions and provide autonomy in their roles.
  4. Encourage Teamwork
    • I promote an environment where collaboration is valued over competition.
    • I recognize and utilize the diverse strengths and skills of my team members.
    • I create opportunities for team members to develop their skills and collaborate effectively.
  5. Be Decisive
    • I make informed decisions based on analysis, wisdom, and judgment.
    • I am confident in my decision-making skills, even under pressure.
    • I take responsibility for the outcomes of my decisions.
  6. Remain Committed to Growth
    • I commit to personal growth and the development of my team.
    • I invest in training and learning new leadership strategies and industry trends.
    • I encourage my team to pursue development opportunities and provide resources for growth.
  7. Show Empathy
    • I strive to understand and consider my team’s feelings and perspectives.
    • I respond to workplace conflicts with empathy and seek balanced solutions.
    • I recognize individual team members’ circumstances and adapt my approach accordingly.
  8. Provide Constructive Feedback
    • I give feedback that is specific, actionable, and timely to foster improvement.
    • I balance positive reinforcement with constructive criticism to maintain team motivation.
    • I tailor my feedback approach to individual team member needs and personalities.
  9. Recognize and Reward
    • I promptly acknowledge and reward excellent performance and achievements.
    • I use a variety of recognition methods to suit different team members.
    • I ensure that rewards and recognition are fair and transparent across the team.
  10. Be Adaptable
    • I adjust my leadership style and strategies based on the situation and team needs.
    • I remain effective and proactive even during times of change or uncertainty.
    • I am open to new ideas and encourage innovation that challenges traditional approaches.

Grading Guide:

Add up your scores for each category. Each category’s maximum score is 15. Interpret scores as:

  • 13-15 Points: Excellent
  • 10-12 Points: Good
  • 7-9 Points: Fair
  • 4-6 Points: Weak
  • 1-3 Points: Very Weak

Results Interpretation:

  • Highest Scores: Indicate strengths. Continue to enhance these skills.
  • Lowest Scores: Highlight areas for improvement. Develop these aspects through training or mentorship.

By regularly assessing your leadership qualities and actively working on your areas of improvement, you can enhance your effectiveness as a leader and make a positive impact on your organization.


Leadership is a journey, not a destination. By adhering to these ten commandments, you can build a leadership style that is respected and effective. Remember, the best leaders are those who continually evolve and strive to serve their teams better.

Ready to take your leadership to the next level? Start by implementing these ten commandments in your daily routine and watch how they transform your approach to leadership and the performance of your team. Lead with confidence, integrity, and a vision that inspires everyone around you. When in doubt, leadership coaching can support you on your journey. Reach out to learn more!

Casey Schmalacker

Casey Schmalacker, Vice President at New Frontiers, is a seasoned leader in marketing, sales, and business development. With a dual degree in Government and Law and Economics from Lafayette College, he has spent the past 10 years coaching students, adults, and organizations to improve executive functions, soft skills, and workplace performance. Casey’s approach is rooted in strategic development and a passion for personalized coaching, emphasizing a culture of continuous improvement.

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