10 Leadership Principles From Robert Iger


I haven't read such an intense prologue of a book similar to that of "The Ride of a Lifetime". Written by Robert Iger on his experience as a leader. The CEO of Disney for 15 years. You can see through his eyes in just the prologue. How intense situations can get. How the unexpected can happen and in times you are most busy. And as a leader you need to act.

I'll have lots to say about this marvellous book but for now I want to share how he ends his introduction by listing his ten principles for true leadership.


“One of the most important qualities of a good leader is optimism, a pragmatic enthusiasm for what can be achieved. Even in the face of difficult choices and less than ideal outcomes, an optimistic leader does not yield to pessimism. Simple put, people are not motivated or energised by pessimists.”


The foundation of risk-taking is courage, and in ever-changing, disrupted businesses, risk-taking is essential, innovation is vital, and true innovation occurs only when people have courage. This is true of acquisitions, investments, and capital allocations and it particularly applies to creative decisions. Fear of failure destroys creativity.


“Allocating time, energy and resources to the strategies, problems, and projects that are of highest importance and value is extremely important, and it's imperative to communicate your  clearly and often.”


All decisions, no matter how difficult, can and should be made in a timely way. Leaders must encourage a diversity of opinion balanced with the need to make the implement decisions. Chronic indecision is not only inefficient and counterproductive, but it is deeply corrosive to morale.


“A deep and abiding curiosity enables the discovery of new people, places and ideas, as well as an awareness and an understanding of the marketplace and its changing dynamics. The path to innovation begins with curiosity.”


“Strong leadership embodies the fair and decent treatment of people. Empathy is essential, as in accessibility. People committing honest mistakes deserve second chances, and judging people too harshly generates fear and anxiety, which discourage communication and innovation. Nothing is worse to an organisation than a culture of fear.”


“Thoughtfulness is one of the most underrated elements of good leadership, It is the process of gaining knowledge, so an opinion rendered or decision made is more credible and more likely to be correct. It's simply about taking the time to develop informed opinions.”


“Be genuine. Be honest. Don't fake anything. Truth and authenticity breed respect and trust.”

The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection.

“This doesn't mean perfectionism at all costs, but it does mean a refusal to accept mediocrity or make excuses for something being "good enough". If you believe that something can be made better, put in the effort to do it. If you're in the business of making things, be in the business of making thing great.”


“Nothing is more important than the quality and integrity of an organisation's people and its product. A company's success depends on setting high ethical standards for all things, big and small. Another way of saying this is: The way you do anything is the way you do everything.”