Great Expectations

Rule 31. Don’t expect of others what you won’t do yourself.

I learned this rule early. Somewhere around the age of ten to thirteen I realized how many people in my life were hypocrites, as many people of that age do. This rule was created to prevent that from happening to myself.

The best leaders lead through respect, bad ones rule through fear. It is difficult to gain the respect of your employees without doing, or having done, the work they do.  A quick look at the great leaders of history will show you the most successful followed the same thinking.


Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders – Source – Wikipedia

Theodore Roosevelt traversed the harsh terrain of Cuba with his fellow rough riders. He didn’t ask his men to do anything he didn’t. Before they could take San Juan Hill they had to take Kettle Hill, an outpost where Spanish soldiers were shooting down the infantry. Roosevelt gave the order to charge and the men paused, unsure whether to follow or not. Roosevelt’s commanding officer had not authorize such a maneuver. TR though, didn’t wait, he charged ahead and his men quickly followed. He made it up the hill, capturing the outpost with only one soldier at his side, the rest scrambling after.


Battle of 1st. Mananas – Source –

Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson also was a harrowing example. Not only in battle, when Jackson stood in the hail fire. Even when the camp moved to a new location Jackson behind the wagons, pushing them through the rough mud with his men.

Whether intentionally or not, we all expect things from people. Why would someone do for you what you won’t do yourself?

What leaders do you know that have followed this principle? Can you think of a situation where this applies? Feel free to leave an answer in the comments!


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