Be Unnecessary (And Two More Tricky Leadership Principles)

I’ve been reading, learning, and writing a good deal about leadership over the past two years. It’s one of my favorite topics because the applications expand far beyond your business career into your personal relationships, family, and more. Regardless of whether you’re in an official leadership position within an organization, you’ll benefit greatly from developing leadership skills.

In my mind, one of the best ways to learn about leadership is to read, absorb, and apply lessons from the greats. I wanted to distill some of the more counterintuitive principles I’ve picked up from reading books like The Score Takes Care of Itself, Extreme Ownership, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

  1. Be a leader, not an achiever.
  2. Make yourself unnecessary.
  3. Take all the blame.

Here’s more about those leadership principles and how they specifically apply.

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Two Leadership Lessons From Bill Walsh

Bill Walsh is the former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and a Pro Football Hall of Fame member. When he took over the 49ers, they were without a doubt one of the worst teams in the NFL. In just three short seasons, he took them to a Super Bowl championship. In fact, during his time in SF, he won three Super Bowls and popularized a new type of offense—the West Coast offense.

I recently finished reading his book The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy on Leadership. Overall, I thought the book was okay—definitely worth a read but not a book I’ll re-read again down the line (full recap coming soon). However, two distinct points did stand out—how Walsh introduced a standard of performance and engineered a “team first” atmosphere.

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