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The Four Agreements of being a great leader

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

Q: I recently got promoted to being a manager in my company. I have never managed a team before. What advice do you have on how I can be a great manager for my team?

A. First, congratulations on your promotion. An important quote to keep in mind is: “To develop others, start with yourself.” – unknown.

One of my favorite books on how to be a better leader is probably not one that you would think of in terms of leadership. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz highlights four key areas of personal development for success in life & business. These simple yet impactful principles can dramatically change your life both personally and professionally when they are mastered.

The Four Agreements are:

1. Be impeccable with your word – Speak with integrity. Do what you say you are going to do, don’t gossip or say negative things about yourself. You want your words and your actions to match.

2. Don’t take anything personally – This one is my favorite, and a bit of a mind bender. Often we add our own stories to peoples every day actions or comments making them all about us, when in fact, it isn’t about us at all.

When someone verbally attacks you in an attempt to put the full responsibility for an issue on you, remember the other person is responsible for his or her own feelings, perceptions and actions. You are giving the other person all the power over how you feel about yourself if you do take it personally.

It doesn’t mean you don’t take responsibility for your actions or are not open to feedback. In fact, you will find you are more open to feedback by not taking things personally.

3. Make no assumptions – We all do it, and in emotional situations we often assume the worst. Find the courage to ask questions, check in on your assumptions and express what you really want and what is true for you. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings.

4. Always Do Your Best Your best is going to change from moment to moment. For example, it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstances, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Start living these principles by focusing on one at a time. Pick one you want to practice for a week. You will find some are easier than others. You will be amazed how often there are opportunities to practice these principals, and how impactful they are on being a great manager when you strive to live & lead from them. By leading and living from this place yourself, you are creating a culture for your team to step up and do the same in there own lives and work.

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