Leadership styles vary from individuals, business entities, and personality types. Styles may range from dictatorial to collaborative and from hands-on to distant delegation. No matter the individual or entity’s style, successful business leadership rests on a common foundation that creates a culture conducive to transparency, openness, innovation, risk-taking, accountability, and fiscal responsibility. Successful leaders create this environment through their words and actions.

Foundational leadership is requisite on the word foundation, characterized by consistent words and actions. Having this unchanging standard outside the individual solidifies and tempers emotions and thoughts when stresses and challenges occur. Foundations built on principles of moral standards unrelated to current political or social trends facilitate an environment conducive to a productive working environment.

Leadership tends to fail more often when the leader’s foundational principles are rooted in moral relativism where ethical standards, morality, and positions of right or wrong are culturally based and therefore subject to a person’s individual choices. Leadership also tends to fail when the leader’s foundational principles are rooted in post-modernistic thinking where individuals reject the dogma, principles, or practices of established norms and deny certain truths. These shifting foundations create uncertainty for subordinates and employees because the “standards” always seem to change based on circumstances, emotions, social pressures, or other influences. Without unchanging standards established outside the leader, it becomes difficult for subordinates to ultimately understand what is bad or good, right or wrong, worthy of risk or avoidable, and what defines success or failure. Employees have difficulty connecting as a “team member” and begin feeling victimized by the uncertain standards.

From an operational perspective, leaders can facilitate the creation of healthy unchanging foundation principles that reflect the environment for subordinates by what is referred to as the “A’s” of leadership principles.

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