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Lessons of Leadership Report

Leadership is an attribute which is necessary to organize and control the work of people in order to achieve the set objectives and realize the corporate purposes. General Colin Powell provides eighteen lessons of leadership which can be discussed in the context of organizational leadership.

In spite of the fact all the presented lessons are effective and focus on the important aspects of the leader’s activities in relation to organization, it is possible to determine the most significant lessons which can be used in the majority of problematic situations to complete the definite goals.

It is important to concentrate on the lessons in which the necessity to be responsible, to look below the surface appearance, and to become a simplifier is emphasized.

It is stated in the first lesson provided by General Colin Powell that “Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off” (Colin Powell Leadership Primer, 2004).

The reason to focus on this lesson is in the fact that the real leader follows his path according to the set goals and developed approaches, the leader’s vision of the people’s skills and abilities is objective and realistic, and the leader does not compromise to satisfy people’s interests at the expense of the corporate goals and priorities (Powell, 2012).

From this point, the leader is responsible for following his viewpoint for the sake of the company even if it is necessary to confront some people.

For instance, if the leader’s decision does not satisfy the expectations of some people within the organization, it is inappropriate to follow these people’s interests at the expense of corporate purposes to preserve the positive relations with the opponents.

Thus, the discussed principle should be implemented when the leader hesitates about the consequences of his decision for some people who do not agree with it.

The seventh lesson is important for leaders because it asks to pay attention to the whole picture and not to be confused with the good surface appearance. Thus, according to General Colin Powell, “Keep looking below surface appearances.

Don’t shrink from doing so (just) because you might not like what you find” (Colin Powell Leadership Primer, 2004). Sometimes, leaders become challenged by the situation when the reality is not as good as it seemed earlier, before examining the possible pitfalls and reefs.

The injudicious decision based on the ‘surface appearance’ can result for the organization in a financial, material, and energetic loss. That is why, the importance of the seventh lesson is in emphasizing the leader’s responsibility for his decisions from the other perspective.

The work of the great leader depends on the effective cooperation with the people within the organization. It is possible to expect the excellent results of the work when tasks are set by the leader clearly (Cunningham: Powell’s leadership lessons, 2012).

Moreover, the leader’s solution should be also clear for everybody to understand. From this point, the fourteenth lesson states that “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers” (Colin Powell Leadership Primer, 2004).

This lesson is significant to discuss the principles of the organizational leadership because many ineffective leaders are inclined to complicate the situation, decision, and process, and this strategy leads to the unwanted outcomes.

The lesson should be referred to the situation when people seem not to understand the leader’s argument or ask a lot of questions to clarify points.

Therefore, to be the great leader, it is necessary to be responsible for decisions effective for the company, to see below the surface, and to learn how to set clear goals, provide clear and simple tasks and decisions in order to achieve the clarity of purpose and expected results.


Colin Powell Leadership Primer. (2004). Web.

. (2012). Web.

Powell, C. (2012). It worked for me: In life and leadership. USA: Harper.

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