Remembering Colin Powell By Dr. Kandis Boyd
Updated: Dec 31, 2021
Secretary of State Colin Powell’s (1937-2021) legacy impacted not only the military and Americans, but also generations through his key leadership principles. His pioneering achievements include serving as the first African American four-star general of the U.S. Army, Secretary of State, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His leadership principles are highlighted in his 2012 memoir, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, and are essential for anyone pursuing leadership both personally or professionally.
1. It ain’t as bad as you think! It will look better in the morning.
2. Get mad then get over it.
3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
4. It can be done.
5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
8. Check small things.
9. Share credit.
10. Remain calm. Be kind.
11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.
Secretary of State Colin Powell was the epitome of leadership in a variety of key senior level positions throughout his years of service to the American people. His 13 leadership principles are timeless and can be applied to anyone seeking leadership. Good leaders are defined over time, often by making mistakes and then making adjustments and moving forward with refined wisdom and insight. These 13 principles highlight that good leaders have many characteristics; they use a methodical approach to make decisions and work through problems, they listen to others to gather feedback, give accolades, and put their ego aside for the greater good.