Here are some thoughts and notes from a book on leadership development that I am reading.


  • Leadership is hard work. There are no two consecutive easy days in the life of leaders. If today is easy, you know how tomorrow will probably go. But everything worthwhile is uphill. If the purpose of life was ease and comfort, no sensible person would ever take on the demands of leadership.


  • Our understanding of leadership does not come to us all at once. It takes time. In our instant-oriented culture we often want to short-circuit the thinking, reflecting and acting that mark our progressive development as leaders. Understanding how leaders develop and why they matter requires discernment, wisdom, insight and time.
  • When you empower your leaders to own a job, project, or task, they do everything in their power to bring it to completion. They are preoccupied with getting results. They get up in the morning and go to bed at night thinking about it. They go the extra mile without being asked. And they don’t quit until the job is done. They feel the weight of ownership. You no longer wonder what they’re doing or worry about whether they’re going to deliver. You sleep well at night because you know that the leader who owns the job is the one who will lose sleep over it.


  • One of the primary responsibilities of any successful leader is to identify potential leaders. If you got sick, left your organization, or retired, what kind of a future would your organization have? If you have developed strong and capable leaders, and you have trained them to develop more, the future will be bright.
  • The function of leadership is not to produce more followers. It is to produce more leaders.
  • If you’re not identifying, attracting, and equipping leaders, you don’t yet have credibility as a leadership mentor.
  • As a leader, it’s one thing to ask people to join your team and take the journey with you. It’s another to equip them with a road map for the trip. Good leaders provide a means for people on the team to get where they need to go.


  • No matter how hard leaders try to keep their decisions a secret—and some still try hard—people decisions cannot be hidden. They are eminently visible.


  • When you’re trying to identify potential leaders to develop, look for influence. It’s a qualification that must be present in someone you wish to develop as a leader, because leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. If people can’t influence others, they can’t lead.
  • For a leader who develops leaders, there is something scarcer and much more important than ability. It is the ability to recognize ability.
  • People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves. If your leadership ability is a 5 (out of 10), then you cannot expect people with a leadership ability of 6 or higher to follow you. The best people you will be able to attract will be 3s and 4s. So, keep improving. If you want to develop a good team, you need to be a better leader.


I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down. - Abraham Lincoln


  • Attitude is a choice, and at the heart of a good attitude is willingness—willingness to learn, to improve, to think of others, to add value, to do the right thing, and to make sacrifices for the team. Leadership skill may come from the head, but leadership attitude comes from the heart.


  • People often say they’ll know it when they see it. That’s not a good strategy. Know it and you’ll see it!


  • If you have the right vision, and know how to sell, the right leaders will show up.
  • Most people think too small. Good leaders can’t afford to do that. They need to think expansively for the sake of the vision and the team.
  • Great leaders help people have a larger vision of themselves.

Pareto Principle

  • If you have ten people on my team, you invest 80 percent of your time and effort into your top two—your top 20 percent. You add value to them, so they can multiply value to others. The 20 percent will give you an 80 percent return.


  • Mentoring someone to become a better person and leader is tremendous, but don’t just mentor people. Open doors for them. Advocate for them. Put yourself on the line to help them become successful leaders. Pave the way for their success, and if they surpass you, become their biggest cheerleader.
  • If you’re seeking a mentor, look for credibility. If you plan to be a mentor, develop it. And when you mentor others, do so only in your areas of proven success. As your credibility grows, you can expand the areas in which you mentor others.

Handling Pressure

  • As leadership responsibility increases, so does pressure. Under stressful circumstances, some leaders start to forget how important people are. They focus instead on results and systems. They make everything about the bottom line. But leadership is always about people. If people aren’t involved, then what you’re doing is no longer leadership. And if what you’re doing isn’t benefiting people, you’ve lost your way as a leader.


All of the below come with an asterisk. But in general, they are good guiding principles.

  • Most people are insecure. Give them confidence.
  • Most people want to feel special. Compliment them.
  • Most people want a bright future. Give them hope.
  • Most people need to be understood. Listen to them. Most leaders think they are good listeners but they arent. Work on it.
  • Most people want direction. Walk with them.
  • Most people are selfish. Speak to their needs first.
  • Most people get emotionally low. Encourage them.
  • Most people want to be included. Ask their opinion.
  • Most people want success. Help them win.
  • Most people want to be appreciated. Give them credit.