Good leaders come in many forms. They can motivate huge crowds or quietly lead by example. Memorial Day is a great opportunity to honor heroic leaders, as well as reflect on how to become a better leader.
Brave leaders seek out good advice and life lessons from other leaders. Last week, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke during the Alltech REBELation, an international conference held last week in Lexington, Ky. He said that leaders need to set a purpose.
“The best leaders I’ve ever known are able to convey the purpose of an organization,” he said.
Here are the highlights and leadership insights from Powell’s message:
- I never worry about the problems I had in the past; I can’t do anything about them.
- When someone does a good job, make sure you know about it and let that person know you know about it.
- Your job is to make sure your troops have what they need to get the job done.
- Make sure you discipline your organization. If you really want to be a leader, you have to be tough enough to find out where problems exist.
- The best leaders are looking for the opportunities of the future.
- I’ve never said, “That’s an order.” American soldiers don’t respond to that.
- Be a success every day; give your best every day. That will bring you satisfaction.
About Gen. Powell
A four-star general who served four U.S. presidents in various roles, including national security advisor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the United States’ 65th secretary of state, Colin Powell is a strategist, diplomat and leader.
After serving as President Ronald Reagan’s national security advisor, Powell became the youngest officer, first Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) graduate and first African-American to be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for both President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton.
Under President George W. Bush, he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to hold the position of secretary of state. The highly respected general has been the recipient of numerous U.S. military awards and decorations, as well as civil awards. He is the author of two bestselling books: “My American Journey” has been published in more than a dozen languages, and “It Worked for Me” was a New York Times bestseller.