‘Management 101’ – in two words

Recently, a newly promoted friend was having a chat about ‘management 101’ – the how to get your head around being a manager for the first time type of conversation.

Halfway through the chat, my friend stopped and asked a very interesting question regarding the best way to communicate with their new team members.

“What’s the best phrase or couple of words I could use to really show I want to be a good, caring, leader?”, they asked.

It’s a fascinating question and one that got me thinking.

For me, it’s about values. I’m a big fan of the Leadership Virtues that the Australian Institute of Management published some years ago – they being:.

  • Humility
  • Courage
  • Integrity
  • Compassion
  • Humour
  • Passion
  • Wisdom

That list has been – and remains – a guiding light each day. It’s the standard professionally by which I judge myself, and in two organisations, it’s been the anchored of demonstrable values that I’ve implemented in my teams.

Seven words.

Values are easy to spot – both when seeing them and when they are glaringly absent, when arrogance replaces humility, and copping out replaces courage. Too often we see these traits, and I’m as guilty as the next person sometimes, too.

My friend and I chatted about these – and then they asked the question again. A phrase. Some words. How to really show they’re into honest, do your best kind of leadership.

It’s hard (leadership and getting an answer to this question!).

So, here’s my try. And please – would welcome your views and thoughts on what you’d say to my friend.

Mine are: Please – and thank you.


Please because as a leader you don’t want to demand, you don’t want to dictate – you want to lead, by example. Please means manners, it means consideration of others. It’s also a very polite way of asking but also giving directions.

Thank you because when said with meaning, it is a very simple, honest, anchored way of acknowledging the person’s efforts, achievements or value.

The best leaders I’ve worked with or seen in action are the ones who by their actions demonstrate leadership values. They don’t have to think about being humble. They just are. And in the midst of their words, I guarantee you’ll find ‘please’ – and ‘thank you’.

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