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True and effective leadership needs to be based on genuine concern for others and on the desire to do what is good and right.

Raymond F. Angelini, Ph.D. — Business & Personal Coach


The Saratogian Masthead


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Effective Leadership Must Be Sincere

By Dr. Ray Angelini

The Saratogian
November 18, 2002

Dear Dr. Ray,

As a college administrator, I am often approached by both students and faculty for advice on how to be an effective leader. What would you suggest in terms of guidelines I might offer in this regard?

— C.J., Wilton

Dr. Ray Angelini

Dear C.J.,

It is indeed a challenge to be able to provide positive messages regarding leadership in today's chaotic and confusing world. We often tend to be very critical of our leaders and it is common to attribute selfish motivations to anyone's leadership aspirations.

However, rather than being motivated by self-gain, true and effective leadership needs to be based on genuine concern for others and on the desire to do what is good and right, even if others don't appreciate or recognize it. Good leadership depends on doing the right thing even if others revile and reject us because if it.

The best treatise on leadership that I have ever come across is "The Paradoxical Commandments" by Kent M. Keith. They encompass what I believe to be the most effective formula for being an effective leader in today's world. They are as follows:

  • People are often illogical, unreasonable and self-centered. Love them anyway.
  • True love is unconditional and has nothing to do with approval or worthiness. Love is the greatest force in the universe and we punish ourselves and others by withdrawing it just because people don't meet our standards.
  • If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
  • Misery loves company and those among us who have grown cynical, tired and selfish will invariably accuse others of doing the same. While this maybe disappointing and demoralizing, remember this says much more about them than it does about you.
  • If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
  • Success always comes with a price. Often that price is contempt, and even betrayal by those you consider friends. True friends are those who don't care about your position or status. Treasure these true friends, for it will help you endure the betrayal of the false ones who are drawn to you only for what is in it for them.
  • The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
  • Do good merely for the sake of doing good. As the bumper sticker says, "Practice random acts of kindness." Forget about recognition or reward, doing good is all the reward we need.
  • Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
  • Honesty is the cornerstone of all good relationships, however, it does leave us open to be hurt. To risk being loved, you must risk being hurt. Take the risk; it may be the best one you ever take.
  • The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
  • Today more than ever, the world needs committed people with character to think and act in ways that will make a difference: We cannot overcome our current woes with small-mindedness. Dare to dream and think big.
  • People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for the underdogs anyway.
  • Being an effective leader always involves at some point challenging the top dogs on behalf of the underdogs. To support an underdog often involves great risk. Take the risk! You will likely find that it was one of the most meaningful things you ever did.
  • What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
  • Everything that is built will eventually pass away, but that doesn't diminish the importance of building it. Dare to build and make a difference.
  • People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
  • We all need help, but some of us are too proud or unable to admit it. Dare to extend a helping hand to others, even at the risk of it being slapped down. It is better to offer help and have it be rejected than to not offer help at all.
  • Give the world the best you have and get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

The cost of giving your best is high; the cost of not giving your best is higher. We all have something unique to contribute to the world. We have one life to live and one world to contribute to, what ate you saving it for?

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Raymond F. Angelini, Ph.D. — New Horizons Coaching, P.C.

Business & Personal Coach and Licensed Clinical Psychologist

648 Maple Avenue
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
phone 518.583.2679 ][ fax 518.583.1913