top of page

The Golden Rule of Leadership - Model/Focus/Equip

Did anyone really expect the calendar to flip over the digit from 0 to 1 and December become January and all the SHHTUFF from last year would just go away? Without a doubt - the answer is yes, somebody did. And many of us wanted it to. In reality, we knew better. It will still take some more time.

It is now March 2021 - We’ve spent one full year in this crazy time. We are going to make it! Spring has arrived! The birds are back! The seasonal time is a perfect opportunity for a change. The Leadership Harbor mantra for 2021 is: Change begins with One. You are ONE. I am ONE. And we each can influence another ONE to be and become more, and become all we were meant to be.

The Golden Rule

Every religion and culture around the globe has some form of this. Simply put, “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” That means if someone does something, you don’t appreciate, you don’t get even, you treat them nicely - the way you really wish they would treat you.

Consider: Have you ever been cut off in traffic?

I suspect we all have. When I discuss this with a group, lots of people nod their heads - “Yep, I can remember the last time I was cut off in traffic.” Occasionally, someone feels as though they were cut off on purpose. By “on purpose,” I mean that that person truly chose to cut you off due to a mean or aggressive reason that has everything to do with you. That does not mean you were not personally affected - it can be quite unnerving when someone changes lanes in front of you, catches you off guard, and you have to respond quickly to avoid an accident. In this situation, we tend to focus on the other person’s ACT of “cutting us off.” We feel a personal affront even if there wasn’t really one.

Now consider the alternate question: Have you cut someone else off in traffic? Likely the answer is also “yes,” and before you get upset with me and begin to explain why your situation is different, that you didn’t mean to actually cut someone off, and/or that you had a good reason, Let me assure you - I believe you. I believe you had a very good reason for your situation, and for what happened - cutting someone off.

Of course, you may also realize that the other person - you know - the one who cut you off - had a very good reason as well. You think YOU had a good reason, and the converse is true - they think THEY had a good reason.

We cannot compare another person’s actions to our personal intentions or reasons. We have to compare either both actions (both parties cut the other off), or both intentions. What are some possible reasons for cutting someone off: The necessary turn is coming up; You ar late for an appointment; They didn’t see you; Many distracted thoughts; distracting activities in the car; etc. (My wife was once commuting to work on the interstate, and she had to move out of the way for the person driving down the middle of 2 lanes, while having a newspaper spread wide across the steering wheel. Now, don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t fit any of the previously mentioned good intentions - point is, we have to be alert, and careful when driving.) The Golden Rule tells us that we need to treat them (cutting us off in traffic), with the same forgive/forget perspective that we would want when we cut someone else off. Remember, “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”

The Golden Rule of Leadership

Lead people the way you would like to be led. If you like to understand the big picture of the situation, then you must explain the big picture clearly for others. If you want to be involved in setting the direction, then you must be willing to allow others to give input as well. The better you do in leadership opportunities, doing things in ways that people appreciate, the more leadership opportunities you will have.

Leadership is not position or title.

It’s not about intentions.

It’s about the actions you take.

That’s why it is so important to be fully aware of our actions AND own them.

The reverse is true as well. If you don’t like certain methods of leadership - some people can be quite dictatorial - then YOU can never be dictatorial. Ever. If you can’t stand those that do not make timely decisions, then you must make timely decisions.

The Golden Rule of Leadership - Model/Focus/Equip

Think about the driving/cutting people off story...

Model that which you believe in most. If you are allowed to have reasons for what and why you do things, then believe that others do too. If something doesn’t go the way you think it should, ask questions to better understand people’s thought process. Learn from their perspective before deciding their perspective is no good. It may lead you to a better idea. Model that which you believe in most. This includes actions, thoughts, and words. Here is something I learned from Richard Rohr in Breathing Under Water that really brought clarity on modeling to me.

  • Watch your thoughts, they become your words.

  • Watch your words, they become your actions.

  • Watch your actions, they become your habits.

  • Watch your habits, they become your character.

  • Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Focus on moving forward with those activities that are most important. I am working with a corporate group where several people are working hard, and saying , “There’s just not enough time to do it all.” That’s a sad and disappointing statement or feeling. Everyone has the same amount of time. It’s not that there isn’t enough time - it’s that there’s not enough focus time. Focus on that which is most important. Remember the Pareto rule - 80% of the success comes from 20% of the work. Make sure you focus on the right 20%, and success is sure to follow. Focus certainly connects to modelling, both as an action, and as an example. When the leader helps others to ‘focus,’ and not do too much at one time, it can provide tremendous relief to the team, who may think “everything” needs to be done at once. You may have heard the saying, “When everything is important, then nothing is important.”

And lastly, continue to grow in your leadership. Equip yourself to become better, and then teach those methods to others. When you teach, not only do you equip others, but you will become better in the process.

If you would like to advance your Leadership MFE (Model, Focus, and Equip), contact Leadership Harbor for a discovery session and grow yourself and your team into all you are capable of becoming and achieving!

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page