I have to say that Mel Parker is an impressive man. The self-proclaimed ‘farm boy’ from North Carolina is a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger. He has gone on to have a successful career in corporate America and is now working as a consultant, coach and public speaker. Mel is also someone I consider to be a friend albeit a new one.
He smiles easily and is always eager to learn new things. He’s a sponge. He’s also one heck of a leader. Mel knows leadership and his book, the Parker Principles, will teach you a great deal about leadership in the 21st Century.
For Mel, leadership is serious business. He stakes his reputation on it. His 10 principles are unlike those found in other business leadership books. I found them very interesting and vital to the solopreneur and even the individual who wants to lead a better life.
They are no-nonsense, practical skills that anyone can apply to their lives to make it better.
So, what are they?
- Leadership is learning. If you’re willing to learn, you’re able to lead. Leaders who constantly learn stay ahead of the rest and show they are coachable as well as willing to coach and guide their teams. Learning will help them optimize their leadership savvy.
- Build trust by leading with authenticity. Authenticity is my core value. It’s not an easy value to live by because it requires that you be truly genuine all the time. Some leaders have trouble being genuine, but the truth is that you have to be to earn people’s trust and their respect. People follow people they trust and like. It’s that simple.
- Courageous Leadership – Dare to Dream and Dare to Fail. Great leaders dream big. They also aim high. When they don’t meet their goals, they take ownership and responsibility for the failing, but they also move forward and learn from it. A leader can’t live in fear. You must dream and have courage. Without those three things, a leader can never succeed.
- Leadership is Relationships. So many people forget this but relationships are everything in business and in life. The more a leader gets to know the people around him or her, the better off the leader will be and the leader’s team too. A leader should care about the people they come into contact with including clients or customers, teammates or contacts, potential or otherwise. Mel gives tips on how to take notes to show people you care and to remember the big days in their lives. They will reward you for your consideration and you’ll deepen relationships personally and professionally.
- Be a Great Listener. For those of us in helping professions, we know that it can be hard work to really listen to people. However, if you show them this kindness, they will repay it tenfold with friendship or business assistance. When you show someone you care enough about them to really pay attention to them, it’s a beautiful thing. Learn to listen and listen well. It could make or break your business or career.
- Own Your Power: No Excuses. Mel wants you to take responsibility for your own actions. You shouldn’t make excuses when something goes wrong. You don’t do it when something goes right so just accept what happened, admit to any mistakes and move along. You should also realize that you have the power to make things happen and can move the goal post forward. You are enough as you are.
- Embrace Humility. Humility is a quality that we don’t often associate with leaders, but perhaps we should. A good leader can admit that they don’t know everything. They need help to run their team or business. They require assistance from their team and rely on their team to have their back. They also have their team’s backs. Humble leaders are not leaders without backbone. They are leaders with heart.
- Believe in Something. Everyone needs to believe in something. If you don’t, you’ll fall for anything. A good leader has values and sticks to them. Leaders have integrity. They are authentic and genuine. Yes, you can be a good person and a leader. You don’t check your values at the door the minute you become a leader. You bring them with you and they are a part of your success.
- Be Strong, Fit, and Confident. A leader is strong inside and out. They take care of their bodies, their minds and their spirits. Yes, physical fitness is important. It’s not that you look like a supermodel, but rather that you have enough energy and fortitude to carry out your tasks. This will help you be more confident in yourself and make better decisions and a better overall impression on others, including the members of your own team.
- Be Enthusiastic and Optimistic. You can be both. You should be both. Leaders need to be optimistic but not blind to the situation. It’s an informed optimism that you should carry in leadership. Enthusiasm is hard to hide. A leader should ooze enthusiasm for their work and their life. It should shine through in everything they do. Why? Enthusiasm is infectious and carries over into team performance. An enthusiastic and optimistic team will perform better, giving you better results overall.
In the end, The Parker Principles – 10 Leadership Force Multipliers are very no-nonsense and full of common sense just like Mel Parker himself. If you haven’t read them yet, I suggest you do. It’s a great book for anyone, not just captains of industry.
For more information on Mel Parker, visit https://takethelimitsoff.com/.