Three Fundamental Principles of Leadership
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Three Fundamental Principles of Leadership

Three Fundamental Principles of Leadership

In the intricate world of leadership, where success is often measured by the achievements of the team, three foundational principles shine brightly. These principles provide a roadmap for elevating a team’s performance, fostering collaboration, and achieving excellence.

1) Praise in public, correct in private

Imagine a stage where the spotlight shines on team members, highlighting their accomplishments and contributions for all to see. This is the essence of “praise in public, correct in private.” It’s a principle that recognizes the significance of feedback in leadership.

Public praise serves as a powerful motivator. When leaders publicly acknowledge and celebrate their team members’ successes, this not only boosts morale, it also encourages the replication of positive behavior. It sends a clear message that achievements are valued and recognized. Moreover, it fosters a sense of pride and accomplishment among team members.

However, just as praise is essential, so is constructive criticism. When issues arise or improvements are needed, addressing them privately is key. This approach respects the individual’s dignity, avoids public embarrassment, and allows for open and candid conversations focused on growth and enhancement rather than blame. It creates a safe space for discussing challenges and finding solutions.

2) The “Stone Soup” theory: embracing collaboration

Imagine a traveler arriving in a village with nothing but a simple stone and a vision for a hearty soup. By inviting villagers to contribute their unique ingredients, skills, and perspectives, a delicious and nourishing meal is created. This is the essence of the “Stone Soup” theory in business.

Collaboration and resource sharing are at the heart of this principle. Just as the traveler harnessed the collective efforts of the villagers, businesses can foster innovation and growth by encouraging employees, partners, and customers to share their diverse talents and insights. When individuals pool their resources and work together toward common goals, the results can be extraordinary.

This principle emphasizes the value of diversity and the importance of creating an inclusive environment where everyone’s contributions are acknowledged and appreciated. It promotes a culture of teamwork and cooperation that can lead to greater creativity and problem-solving.

3) Always do our best

In the pursuit of excellence, there is no room for complacency. This principle underscores the importance of personal accountability and a strong work ethic. It’s a call to action, a commitment to giving our all in everything we do.

While there may be no such thing as 110%, we can all strive to give 100%. Or, in other words, always do our best. When team members can depend on each other to consistently deliver their best efforts, trust and respect flourish. This trust forms the foundation of successful collaborations and enduring relationships.

By embodying this principle, individuals demonstrate their dedication to the team’s mission and values. It promotes a culture of excellence and sets a high standard for performance. When everyone in the team shares this commitment, the collective effort becomes a force to be reckoned with.

In conclusion

These three fundamental principles of leadership—praise in public, correct in private; the “Stone Soup” theory; and always do our best—offer a compass for leaders navigating the complex terrain of teamwork and achievement. They remind us that leadership is not just about guiding a team; it’s about empowering individuals, nurturing collaboration, and striving for excellence in every endeavor.

Aaron Locks is the fonder and CEO of the National Academy of Athletics, which provides recreational youth sports camps and programs designed to help kids of all abilities. Contact him at or call 707-791-7593.

Published: November 6th, 2023

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