The rules of Leadership 101

Sometimes it is good to revisit some pearls of wisdom from our elders . . .

A few years ago, we ran an editorial recounting “Lessons from a leader,” tips from retired Hawaii Pacific Health CEO Roger Drue on how to be a successful business leader.

From our experience, community, governmental and political leaders could also gain from Drue’s suggestions; certain politicians could learn a lot from him. Some of those tips, if you’ll remember, were such simple truisms as:

• Listen first, talk second — you learn more from listening than talking.

• Treat everyone equally — courtesy and respect are highly valued currency.

• Mentor effectively and continuously.

• Be humble in all you do — look at the stars now and then, a great way to stay in touch with your humility.

• Study, but not too long. Get used to making decisions with less than perfect information.

• Never be late. Never. It sets a tone of license for slippage that can be contagious.

One would think such common-sense leadership skills would be taught in Business 101. But they are not and we recently have been reminded of another that should be added to Drue’s list:

• Don’t mistake rudeness for efficiency. Don’t have an aide or a secretary make your phone calls for you saying, “Please hold for Mr. Executive.” This is not efficiency — it is demeaning. It is telling the person called your time is more important than his.

In this case alone, we would recommend that rudeness be met with rudeness. The correct response to “Please hold for Mr. Executive” is “No, have him call when he is ready to talk to me.”

Most of Drue’s tips (and our suggestion on phone calls) can be boiled down to the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.

Voila! You’re an effective leader.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.