11 Leadership Principles To Implement in the Workplace

By Jamie Birt

Updated September 14, 2022 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated September 14, 2022

Published February 25, 2020

Jamie Birt is a career coach with 4+ years of experience helping job seekers navigate the job search through one-to-one coaching, webinars and events. She’s motivated by the mission to help people find fulfillment and belonging in their careers.

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This article has been approved by an Indeed Career Coach

Skillful leadership is crucial to achieving business goals. Leaders can implement specific principles, including leading by example, to offer constructive direction and organization. Understanding specific leadership principles can help a leader maximize their team's potential.

In this article, we define what leadership principles are and discuss the top principles that leaders can implement for success.

What are leadership principles?

Leadership principles are the set of actions or guiding beliefs that leaders can implement to experience success in their roles. A company's performance often relates to how effectively its leaders motivate and guide its employees. There are many different leadership styles, and what works for one leader may not work for another. Due to these differences, each leader must have a specific set of principles that applies to them and their organization.

Certain principles can be beneficial to leaders regardless of the industry in which they work. For example, most leaders can convey their expectations by showing their employees how to perform a task correctly instead of just telling them how to do it. Leadership principles are a framework of actions you can take as a leader to inspire others to work together toward a common goal.

Related: What Does Leadership Mean?

11 leadership principles to implement in a managerial role

There are many leadership styles and theories as to what factors make the best leaders. The following leadership principles can help you experience success in a managerial role:

1. Lead by example

Many successful leaders show their employees how to behave and perform tasks. A good leader models excellent behavior and motivates and encourages people. The most successful organizations have leaders who help their staff understand the value of their vision and show them how everyone can work together to achieve that goal in their role. It's challenging for people to have faith in an idea or point of view if their leader doesn't show the same commitment. When you lead by example, your followers can see that you're confident and dedicated, and they may want to adjust their behavior accordingly.

Related: 10 Common Leadership Styles (Plus How To Find Your Own)

2. Leadership is about people

Communicating and engaging with your team is essential to leadership. Without being able to communicate your vision to others, leadership can be challenging. As a leader, you can strive to create the best possible relationship with each member of your team. This means not only relating to those people in top-level management but also to the people who work in lower-level positions. Leaders can work to constantly improve their interpersonal skills, relationships and how they influence the people who surround them.

Related: 11 Ways To Demonstrate Your Leadership Skills at Work

3. Focus on change

Transformation is an essential element of every leadership plan. People need to understand what your goals and objectives are and learn the role they can assume in transforming the organization. Once they know the direction and changes that need to happen, they may be more willing to work toward them. When you encourage others to change and grow, you can do the same as a leader. It's important to prioritize positive change to fulfill goals other than just financial ones. Focus on the organization's overall vision and have the ambition to introduce change to employees.

Related: 12 Types of Business Transformation To Improve Company Processes

4. Admit mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, but it can be beneficial for other people to see a leader acknowledge their mistakes, as it can help them be more relatable. Mistakes can show you where you went wrong and how you can improve in the future. A wise leader learns from each experience and uses it to teach their employees and themselves what areas they need to focus on to grow as an organization. When a leader takes accountability for their mistakes, their employees may respect them more and be willing to listen to their advice.

Related: How To Learn From Your Mistakes

5. Understand the value of listening

As a leader, you need to communicate information to your employees. While this task is essential for effective leadership, you can also take the time to listen to what your employees have to say. When you listen, you may discover new, valuable information that may help you lead effectively. Leaders are great listeners, which doesn't mean that they must agree with everything they hear, but they must try to make sense of it and understand it.

There are two levels of human understanding, which are intellectual and emotional. When you understand what someone is saying, this understanding occurs at the intellectual level. The emotional level of understanding means that you know how they're feeling. A good leader can benefit from both intellectual and emotional understanding. People feel valued and respected when a leader takes the time to listen and process what they're saying.

Related: 11 Active Listening Skills To Practice (With Examples)

6. Develop your skills

Employees and supervisors often define leaders by their behavior and actions, and a good leader has specific skills and characteristics that help them lead effectively. To be a great leader, you can recognize the skills you need and work to develop them. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and what leadership style you want to implement. It's essential to understand your own behaviors and attitudes and how these affect your ability to lead. You can constantly work on your skills and always strive to improve them because they determine how successful your leadership style might be.

7. Promote diversity

As a leader, you can welcome diversity and harness the strengths that it can offer to a company. When everyone has the same background and experience, it means there's a limited amount of expertise. When there are employees with diverse skill sets and expertise, you may be able to approach things differently and find fresh perspectives. A leader needs to recognize the importance of diversity and aim to build teams that embrace it.

8. Work together to achieve more

Collaboration is the act of working with others to share information, strategies and successes. Every great leader understands its importance. Cooperation and collaboration can happen between organizations without affecting healthy competition. A leader can embrace the benefits working collaboratively can bring to experience optimal success.

Related: 9 Types of Collaboration You Can Use in the Workplace

9. Have solid values

Effective leaders have a clear vision and solid values so that they can inspire their followers and motivate them. Values are essential, and they show that you're a credible leader. Profit is essential to every business, but it's not the only goal a leader works to achieve. Employees appreciate working within a friendly team, having flexible working hours and maintaining a job that makes them feel like they're making a meaningful impact on their community. People typically want to work with a leader who understands their values and needs and has authentic values they follow themselves.

Related: The Importance of Values (Plus Benefits and Tips)

10. Use technology and innovation

Since technology use in the workplace is widespread, as a leader you can take advantage of the benefits that technology can bring to the organization. Technology can help in the operation of a business, increase productivity, facilitate movement into new markets and help fulfill the company's vision. Communication across the world is easier using new technologies, which helps with collaboration. Teams can now work together even if they work in different countries.

It's vital to strong leadership that you understand and educate yourself on the technologies that an organization uses. You can then improve how the organization and its employees use relevant technology so that you increase productivity. It's also essential to understand what challenges there could be and how you can overcome them.

Related: 16 Communication Technology Examples To Use at Work

11. Help to develop future leaders

There's always a need for good leadership, and part of being a great leader is to make sure there's someone else who can take over your role when necessary. Thinking about the future in this way is a strong leadership trait. The organization can benefit from having a pre-established plan that leaves no gaps where people have no one to guide them. When employees learn how to become leaders, they take ownership of their work and become more reliable. Leaders understand the value of education and the development of skills and mentor individuals who could become future leaders.

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