Good leaders listen and consider all perspectives before making their own decisions. Supporters need to know that their leaders take them seriously and have a purpose. Powell believed that the determined leader is the one who makes better changes.
Good leadership involves responsibility for the well-being of the group, which means that people will be angry with your actions and decisions. Leaders find it hard to win the loyalty of others when they treat them badly. Leaders who rein in their egos will lead badly in their positions.
To quote Powell again, some situations require executives to float, while others require a looser leash. On the basis of these rules, Powell’s views on leadership were compared with those of lone leaders, particularly George Washington.
Gen. Colin Powell, who died on Monday of complications from the COVID-19 virus, started a book of 13 rules that he said he has learned over the years to serve himself both in his professional life as well as in his private life. At the heart of the book were Powell’s 13 Rules – ideas that he had accumulated over the years and that formed the basis of his leadership.
Indeed, after reading the list, I believe Powell sometimes followed Rule 13 (eternal optimism) to the detriment of Rules 5, 7, and 8 (to be methodical, not to be bullied into making decisions, and to review the little things). The most useful rule is the one about conflict, which forces one to make difficult decisions.
Heads of State or Government must find ways of achieving both formal and informal visibility in the world. They must live in the bigger picture of the world, they must never forget the importance of detail, and they must ensure that details receive the attention they deserve.
In years to come, Colin Powell’s Thirteen Rules of Leadership will be a sense of re-learning words of wisdom buried and forgotten in minds as you go about your busy life. Regarding the thirteen rules of leadership, they are full of emotional intelligence and general wisdom for every leader. Powell’s wise words implore leaders to do their best for those they serve.
When I entered service in 2003, my father Keith Neal, a commanding major in the Army National Guard, gave me a laminated, wallet-sized copy of Colin Powell’s leadership rules. I have them to this day. I have seen General Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State, outline his operational philosophy during my entire managerial career. Powell’s Thirteen Rules of Leadership are the words of a man who was a leader and led a purposeful life.
On the eve of D-Day, writes Powell, General Eisenhower faced one of the toughest decisions ever made by a military commander. Years before General Colin Powell made the transition from man to phenomenon, his nationwide autograph tour became a happening, a frenzy of masseurs that received little attention. Instead, he accepted his instincts, which told him the election was a clear choice.
Powell’s “13 Rules” was published on August 13, 1989 in Parade Magazine, three days after his appointment by President George H.W. Since then, they have been shared by millions of people in many different forms.
His career as foreign minister made him a transformative person who helped other leaders do things that benefit many. Colin Powell, the first black American to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Secretary of State, who died of complications of Covid-19, will be remembered for his impact on U.S. diplomacy and a collection of “rules of life” he published in one of his memoirs. Powell will also be remembered by many for his 2001 to 2005 tenure as Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush, a time when he became one of the faces of the tortured “war on terror” post-9/11.
We will begin this blog post with one of two stories he told at the conference that appeared in the book; then we will review Colin Powell’s 13 Rules and finish with what he did next. One of the early chapters describes the rules as a bundle of quotations and aphorisms that Powell collected and compiled over the years.
Like others, Gen. Colin Powell is likely to be remembered as much for his 13 rules of effective leadership as for his achievements and controversies. But for the hundreds of thousands of soldiers and sailors (and, to be clear, millions more) who have read or heard the rules, this simple list is a big part of what Powell was all about.
The U.S. Department Of State lists Secretary Colin Powell’s 13 Rules of leadership as:
- It ain’t as bad as you think! It will look better in the morning.
- Get mad, then get over it.
- Avoid having your ego so close to your position that your ego goes with it when your position falls.
- It can be done.
- Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
- Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
- You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
- Check small things.
- Share credit.
- Remain calm. Be kind.
- Have a vision. Be demanding.
- Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
- Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.