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Ask a Vexxpert Podcast: The Four Principles of Effective Leadership featuring Ben Dueck

5 min. readbyVexxit StaffonMarch 03, 2022
Imagine if your company’s leadership was 5% or 10% more effective. How would that impact your success? Today, we talk to Ben Dueck, president and founder of Cantera Leadership, about what makes an effective leader. Ben’s passion is helping leaders grow to their full potential—so much so that he got a Master of Arts degree in Leadership. He’s also a certified Gallup CliftonStrengths coach and the host of the 10-Minute Leader podcast. He’s definitely a pro when it comes to owning the leadership game, and we’re thrilled to have him share his knowledge with us.

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Ben Dueck pursued an education in leadership back when this type of education wasn’t really a thing.

“It was kind of a niche degree,” he says.

He decided to go for it because he’d been in leadership roles and wanted to improve his leadership skills, but also because he dreamt that one day, he might be a leadership development consultant and coach.

Ten years after he started his degree program, he realized those goals by launching Cantera Leadership. His education and experience have made him a trusted source in the leadership community.

There’s an idea that leadership is nature or nurture, he says, but he feels it’s a mix of both.

“Some people have a little bit more of that natural leadership ability,” he says. “I also believe that regardless of someone’s natural leadership ability, that everyone can take steps in how well they lead others.”

He points to a Gallup study that asked the average person what they expect from their leaders. The results boiled down to four principles — trust, compassion, stability and hope — that Ben says any leader can strive for, regardless of their natural or learned abilities.

"Those four principles make sense, but I’ve never thought about using them intentionally,” Ben says that clients often admit. “We’re not going to be perfect leaders, but when we have that intentionality, it makes a difference.”

Leadership principle #1: Trust

“If you don’t have trust, you’re not going to have a strong team,” Ben says.

He references Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, that claims a lack of trust is the dysfunction at the base of it all.

Stephen M.R. Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything, is another resource that shows how important trust is in any business or client relationship.

Part of growing that trust is being authentic, Ben says, and following through with what you say you’re going to do. It’s also owning it when you miss the mark.

“When we don’t hit it — own it,” Ben says. “That’s tough to do for some leaders.”

Leadership principle #2: Compassion

People want to know they’re more than just numbers in an organization. When you show compassion, you show your team members that you value them for who they are.

The key is to pay attention to what motivates each individual. Ben likens it to The Five Love Languages, a concept based on the idea that people are motivated in different ways.

Another tool Ben suggests is the CliftonStrengths assessment, which pinpoints a person’s top five talents—something leaders can use to appeal to their team.

Leadership principle #3: Stability

Many teams have interpersonal conflicts and struggles.

Letting your team know you’re addressing the challenges builds a sense of stability, which Ben calls a “foundational piece” to build from.

Leadership principle #4: Hope

Imagining what could happen if your leadership was 5% or 10% more effective creates hope, which is essential in leadership. When you’re hopeful, you inspire others to be hopeful, too.

“You’re able to start seeing your team and your organization become more cohesive because they’re striving towards what that looks like,” Ben says.

Consider how you can incorporate these four principles into your business practices, Ben suggests, whether it’s in how you communicate with your team or how you onboard your clients.

Where to start? Address the gap.

“We all have a gap between where we are and where we could be,” Ben says.

By bridging the gap, you can move towards the 5% or 10%—or even 1%—improvement that will make all the difference in your leadership effectiveness.

For more on improving your leadership and entrepreneurship skills, check out the full podcast. You can also get in touch with Ben for his input on how to maximize your leadership potential.

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