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What are the fundamental principles of leadership? What are the fundamental principles of human resource management applied by organisations wishing to get the best out of their people?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are a number of approaches to enumerating the fundamental principles of leadership. Some approaches enumerate eight or ten principles while others enumerate five principles. In general, though, there are two essential approaches, and there is a great deal of cross-over between all approaches. One essential approach focuses on ethical and respectful behavior, stressing that the person is never the problem; the situation external to the person is the problem; constructive relationships and leading by example are necessary. The other essential approach focuses on qualifications for leadership, stressing such things as communication skills, decision-making proficiency, taking responsibility, providing information, delegating tasks, flexibility, passing on the vision, and enabling employees.

One five-step model for the fundamental principles of leadership developed by the Leadership Challenge relies heavily on the personal qualities of the leader. This five-step model advocates:

  1. Modeling the way things will be, setting the standard for how people will be treated, and identifying small goals that lead to larger objectives.
  2. Inspiring a shared vision of what the company will come to be by using "magnetism and quiet persuasion" to inspire partnership in the vision.
  3. Challenge the status quo by being innovative, experimenting and taking risks.
  4. Enabling employees to act independently by fostering collaboration and team projects, with behavior founded in "trust and human dignity."
  5. Encouraging the heart--the spirit--of employees by recognizing contributions and hard work.

Brad Sugar of Action Coach advocates a different approach, one that is based in what the leader does rather than what the leader is. In his ten-step plan, he advocates:

  1. Know your attributes and strengthen the weak areas.
  2. "Be technically proficient," with a solid understanding of the jobs your employees do.
  3. While striving for company growth, "seek responsibility" and accept responsibility for your errors.
  4. Have the tools and methods for sound decisions.
  5. Set a good example; employees trust what they see.
  6. Care about and look out for the well-fare of your employees.
  7. Communicate, and keep people up-to-date with information.
  8. For success in responsibilities, develop a "sense of accountability, ownership and responsibility" in employees.
  9. Tasks and roles for employee assignment need to be communicated so they are understood; then they need to be "supervised, and accomplished" so employees have success and self-esteem.
  10. Unit your employees as a team to attain a united spirit and the fullest fulfillment of capabilities.
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