Leadership: it’s one of the cornerstones of masculinity. It isn’t human resource management, or manipulation.  It isn’t team-building exercises where everyone gets a trophy.  It isn’t being a boss, demanding that your minions perform.  True leadership is the upward pull, creating distinction and achievement.  It is the core nature of hierarchy, understood and embraced by every member, no matter where they are on the totem pole.  It is the divine spark that builds civilization.

Far more than just a strategy to achieve social dominance, leadership is the ethical code which calls out to all Men from deep within.

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1. Achieve professional competence.

Note the phrasing: competence.  As Jack Donovan explores in his book The Way of Men, Mastery is one of the core virtues of masculinity; and yet no man can achieve excellence in all fields.  In a leadership situation you will be tasked with organizing and deploying men who are more skilled than you at their specific trades, but this doesn’t mean that you can remain ignorant of their fields.  A basic understanding of their jobs is necessary. A race car driver doesn’t need to be a great mechanic, but he needs to understand the principles of automotives.

2. Appreciate your own strengths and limitations while pursuing self-improvement.

If you are going to demand more from your men, you need to demand more from yourself. At the same time, a leader has no room for cockiness or ego.  The saying “If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself,” is the antithesis of this: either you’re leading the wrong people, or you’ve failed to lead properly.

There’s an old riddle which asks, “Who’s smarter, a platoon or their Sergeant?” The answer is “The platoon – there’s thirty of them!” If you’re too arrogant to admit your own limitations, you won’t be able to hear the words of your subordinates.  A leader must be humble.

3. Seek and accept responsibility.

Again, note the phrasing: responsibility.  The modern boss seeks glory, while a true leader is the opposite—he is willing to take authorship of himself and the world around him, come what may.  At my old training base this was summed up as “Never pass a fault.” If you see a problem, fix it – don’t just walk on by, assuming somebody else will clean up the mess.

The boss seeks temporal glory and gets trapped in a “Keeping Up With the Joneses” death spiral. By eschewing glory, the true leader winds up with respect and honour.  Accept such rewards gracefully.

4. Lead by example.

You are the upward pull—not the downward push.  To inspire the men beneath you, show them that you work as hard as they do – harder than they do.  Set a standard for them to aspire to. Be the solution; don’t be the problem.

5. Make sure that your followers know your meaning and intent, then lead them to the accomplishment of the mission.

Your men are creative, thinking beings. Let them employ those skills to better the organization as a whole.  You are not the boss, and they are not the minions – you are collaborators, with your hand on the helm of the ship.  If they understand your intent they can improvise, they can bring you information and ideas which you wouldn’t have had time to search out. These aren’t a bunch of cowards who need to be hand-held—these are Men. Let them prove it to you.

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6. Know your soldiers and promote their welfare.

The corporation gives us what we want, not what we need. We are all replaceable cogs.  A leader recognizes his men as individuals, that they aren’t disposable, and he concerns himself with their betterment.  Loyalty is a two-way street. Do what’s best for your soldiers, especially when this involves disciplining them. Honest concern, not manipulation, should be your goal.

7. Develop the leadership potential of your followers.

To be a good leader, you must first be a good follower. To be a good follower, you must think for yourself.  Leadership is not a slave morality, it is the ethos of a Free Man. It is just as critical for your subordinates to embrace these principles as it is for you to embody them.

8. Make sound and timely decisions.

A good decision now is better than the perfect decision later.  You are the head of the organization. Weigh your options carefully, but when it is time to act, act!  Leadership is not a democracy and it is not a group hug session.  To inspire confidence in your followers, have confidence in your decisions.  If you are a subordinate, place faith in your leader, and forgive their mistakes… because one day it’s going to be you who is screwing up.

9. Train your soldiers as a team and employ them up to their capabilities.

Your followers should be a switched-on group of go-getters; and go-getters aren’t going to follow somebody who employs them far beneath their capabilities.  Give them the opportunity for growth, and push them to surpass themselves.  Give them hierarchy and cooperation, capped with a higher goal. Not the “crabs in a bucket” ideology of corporate favouritism and in-fighting.

10. Keep your followers informed of the mission, the changing situation and the overall picture.

Take care of your soldiers, and they’ll take care of you.  Keep them informed, and they’ll be able to think for themselves.  Paint the vision of where the team is heading, and they’ll have something to strive towards.

All men must be leaders at some point in their lives.  Whether it is the Platoon Commander leading his troops into battle, or the techie who says “You’ll need this, this, and this for it to work properly. I won’t sign my name off on bad work.”

Feminine nature is a fine, and wonderful thing, but it is not the ethos of a Man.

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This article was originally published at Stares At The World.

Read More: Leadership Training For Men