By Dana Johnson

Becoming a great leader does not happen overnight, but it can be achieved through discipline, hard work and a commitment to improvement through experience. Here are my top 20 rules that all great leaders follow.

  1. Listen to your team. Rule one. Always listen to what your team has to say, even if you don’t like it.
  2. Communicate as efficiently as possible. Make your expectations very clear both written and verbally.
  3. Talk less. Sometimes saying nothing is better.
  4. Be an example. Be the type of person you want your team members to be.
  5. Be consistent. Consistent in your behaviors so your team knows what to expect from you.
  6. Interfere only when necessary. If you trust your team to do good work, don’t interfere unless absolutely necessary.
  7. Know your weaknesses. If there’s something you’re not good at, admit it, and work on it.
  8. Don’t make excuses. If you make a mistake, take ownership of it and don’t pass the blame to someone or something else.
  9. Accept the unforeseen. You can’t control or predict everything.
  10. Do Give Back. Commit yourself to being a good person and giving back to the community when possible.
  11. Temper your reactions. Hold back your reactions until you have a moment to clarify your internal thoughts and feelings.
  12. Have fun. Take the time to have fun with your team.
  13. Be humble. Don’t get big-headed about your wealth, influence or position as a leader.
  14. Be reasonable. Listen to dissenting opinions, and be fair.
  15. Make time for what’s important. There’s no such thing as “not having time” for what’s really important in your life. Make the time.
  16. Give feedback. Let your team know what they’re doing well and what needs further improvement.
  17. Be approachable. Let people know they can trust you and have an open door policy.
  18. Treat everyone equally. Don’t play favorites; it breeds resentment and makes you appear immature as a leader.
  19. Get the team together. Use team-building exercises or other excuses to get your team members talking with one other and having fun together.
  20. Don’t sacrifice your personal life. Your personal life is necessary to retain your own mental health. Never sacrifice it for the sake of leadership or professional responsibilities.