I believe that today, one of the greatest challenges that our society faces overall is a big lack of leadership. Hi, my name is Bernie Heine and I’d like to talk a little bit about five leadership principles that can work together to build a leadership culture within your company.

Anyone Can Be a Leader

The first one I want to talk about is the fact that everybody can be a leader. We talk about leaders as being the heads of the company – it’s the CEO’s job to be the leader – but we can all be leaders – the most junior person, the intern that we hired last week – anyone can exhibit leadership properties.

Being a leader means taking initiative, being positive, looking for the right answers, looking for solutions and not looking for the problems. Everyone has the ability to be a leader, and I think we’ve all experienced people like this in our lives, someone that wasn’t necessarily the CEO who brought up a good idea to get people moving.

There are some characteristics that we look towards in our leaders and everyone can have these skills.

Selfless Leadership

The first important leadership principle to consider is to serve the team and not yourself. Leaders think about serving the collective good. Ask yourself: “what am I doing to help the rest of the organization?” As opposed to focusing inward “what am I doing right now to make myself better in this situation?”

Establishing Long-Term Goals

Another important aspect is that leaders look to the future and declare victory and then work backwards. So, make a statement like ‘this is what I’m going to accomplish, this is our vision, this is where we’re going’.

This could be for the company overall if you’re the CEO, but even if you’re a more junior person in the organization you need to wonder what you can accomplish within your department, and make a statement like ‘this is what I want to accomplish’ and then set in the steps to get there.

Be a Leader, Not a Victim

The fourth really important principle is to never allow yourself to become a victim. What do victims do? The opposites of leaders, victims wallow in the ‘woe is me’, they blame everybody else around them, and never hold themselves accountable.

Victims essentially give up their lives to other people around them – it’s the economy, it’s the weather, it’s my boss, it’s the clients – we all have lots of excuses as to why we are not successful. But what leaders do is say ‘well, all those things might be happening but I’m able to choose the path of leadership, I’m able to have a choice, I don’t have to react simply to what’s going on, I can do things about it’.

So leaders take action and make things happen. There is a great book called the Oz Principle, where the author talks about drawing a line on a page and then asking yourself: “am I above the line?”, meaning “are you the leader?”, or “am I below the line?”, meaning  “are you being a victim?”.

As human beings, we vacillate across this line all the time, and we have to recognize when we are above and when we are below.

If It Ain’t Broke, Break It Yourself

The final leadership culture principle I’d like you to consider for your organizations is: “if it ain’t broke just break it!”

We have to keep moving forward, we can’t live with the status quo. Leaders have to be bold enough to say ‘even though this has worked in the past, we need to break some stuff to move forward.’ In the end, you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs. So let’s get out there and break some eggs. Make a change!