The 3 Essential Rules for Being a Great Leader

July 30, 2018

See the rules you should follow to be a great leader.

Todd Dewett has spent a career researching leadership, taking on leadership roles himself and – through LinkedIn Learning, as an MBA professor, a speaker and author – teaching leadership to millions.

After all that time studying the subject, he’s reached an epiphany.

“I kept coming back to three things that, above all else, for me, capture the essence of what it means to be a great leader,” Dewett said in his LinkedIn Learning course, Management Tips Weekly. “In my writing, they have become known as Dewett's Rules.”

What are those three essential “Dewett Rules”? They are:

LinkedIn Learning Instructor Todd Dewett lists the three essential rules of great leadership.

    1. Reduce ambiguity.

What it means: Employees perform best with clarity. That means clear asks, clear expectations and clear KPIs.

There are a few keys to reducing ambiguity as a leader. Obviously, clear communication is key. But so is being transparent.

“You have to embrace transparency in decision-making, providing great explanations for your behaviors and choices and you have to strive for real inclusion when making decisions,” Dewett said. “In short, keep people informed.”

    2. Be fair.

What it means: Dewett describes being fair as treating people “the same and not the same at the same time.”

What does that mean?

You treat people the same by providing them all with the same respect. That means creating a safe, honest and open workplace, where people are judged solely on their job performance.

Conversely, you don’t treat people the same when it comes to rewards. People who accomplish something great are reward greatly; people who produce average results get average rewards.

    3. Stay positive.

What it means: Great leaders relentlessly create and defend a positive work environment, Dewett said. The most common way to do this is playing the cheerleader role, where you share credit widely for wins, frame your decisions in a positive manner and support others.

“The glass is half-full if you say it’s half-full,” Dewett said.

The takeaway

Leadership is more complicated than just those three rules, and there are thousands of situations leaders face that require unique solutions. That’s why being a great leader requires a commitment to learning and takes a lifetime to master.

But these three rules are the foundation of great leadership, Dewett said. If you find yourself in a murky situation or don’t know what to do next – remember those three rules. If you abide by them consistently, over time you’ll become the type of leader people love following.

Want to learn more? Watch Dewett’s full course, Management Tips Weekly.

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