I have distilled the essence of great leadership and management into five beliefs. Take on and act based on these beliefs and you will lead well. I promise! I have been observing and learning from the best leaders for 30 years, have held leadership positions for nearly 25 years and have written about management and leadership for 15 years. I have seen great leaders transform organizations and I have seen terrible leaders suck the life out of workplaces. I know you want to be transformative!

These five beliefs reside deep inside the very best leaders I have had the pleasure to work with over the years.

Five Beliefs at the Core of Great Leadership

1. We are highly talented and highly flawed. This belief should lead to two actions – greatness and tolerance. 1) You are amazing – so go BE amazing. Your organization needs that and you need it (don't be a Greyhound who never runs). 2) Chill out and be tolerant. You drive half the people around you a little nutty and others will irk you on occasion. Never let personality or style get in the way of working well with others. I am not suggesting you put up with abuse – but most of what irks us is just a clash in style.

2. Management is a social act – it occurs in conversation. Being able to cultivate and catalyze productive and progressive conversations is your currency for getting things done. If you are lacking progress, get people talking.

3. There is big power in small actions. Generating breakthroughs starts with tiny actions that reverberate, build, and then go BAM!! Almost every great outcome started with a tiny act. Take small actions every day in the service of your goals. You will make things happen. For more on this, see my post about the Butterfly Effect here.

4. Calm and persistent is the way to go. No one wants to follow a leader who runs around like his/her hair is on fire. No one wants to follow someone who does not follow through. Be strong, but don’t generate negative drama. Be like a redwood tree – strong, flexible, and a positive force.

5. Leading people is a privilege. You affect people’s lives every day – positively or negatively. Your actions can help people do their best work or send them to drink due to stress and boredom. Leading people is an awesome opportunity – act like you have won the job lottery every day (you have). Go forth and conquer with confidence and grace.

These five beliefs will help you with all the opportunities and challenges you face as a leader. These beliefs are the most important for us to take on and model, in my humble opinion. It all starts here.

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Cheers and happy new year! Go 2013 and beyond!