Trending Content

The 10 Commandments of Leadership

By Michael DAngelo

July 7, 2022


I’ve had the privilege of sitting in on several of the podcast recording sessions of Breaking Down Boxes. AICC Chair Gene Marino and AICC Associate Committee Chair Joe Morelli have created a wonderful series that has something for every AICC member to take away. The stories that have been shared have been compelling and inspiring. Sitting down with independent boxmaker and supplier leaders and hearing about their successes, failures, and the lessons learned—and getting insight into how these people became successful—is truly educational. You seem to agree, as Breaking Down Boxes ranks highly in terms of audience out of the millions of business podcasts that are out there.

My last few columns have been reflective of my experiences in this great business, the path I’ve followed, and the leadership positions that I’ve gained, including my current gig as a leader of this wonderful Association.

One of the frequently asked questions when Marino and Morelli are interviewing involves leadership style and methods. This made me think about my own leadership philosophies, which have been constantly evolving but have always had common threads.

About 20 years ago, I came across an item that I felt perfectly summarized the themes I’d followed. I don’t know who the author is, so I cannot credit that person, but I’ve had a piece of paper with these words prominently displayed in every cubicle and office I have ever occupied—a daily reminder.

The 10 Commandments of Leadership

  1. Always do what is right, no matter what.
  2. Be kind and caring.
  3. Be brave.
  4. Be yourself, authentic, and genuine.
  5. Put employees first; they will take care of everything else.
  6. Be humble and appreciative.
  7. Treat everyone fairly, including those who oppose you or do not like you.
  8. Trust your people to do their jobs.
  9. Focus on creating opportunities, not rules.
  10. Do not leave anyone behind.

So many different personalities make up organizations, companies, and associations. For that reason, you cannot deal with each and every person the same way. But you can still be true to the 10 Commandments of Leadership with each and every unique individual in your organization. They are 10 common denominators for your interactions. They are also a strong basis for servant leadership, which I believe makes the strongest organizations and creates the most loyal workforce.

Being a leader can be hard. But following each of these 10 directives is, or should be, at face value, easy. Why? Because they are optimistic, and we all need to be optimists to lead effectively.

Finally, following these 10 Commandments of Leadership will take care of the most important responsibility leaders have—to care for their people. This responsibility is best summarized in the following quote from Bill Treasurer, chief encouragement officer at Giant Leap Consulting: “Always remember that leadership is a privilege. When you’re in a leadership role, your influence may affect the trajectories of people’s entire careers (and often their lives)!”


Michael D’Angelo

AICC President