RALE+1 Leadership

Stephen T. Messenger

February 3, 2021

Leadership is hard to define.  Thousands of scholars and practitioners have placed their unique spin on this topic and tried to describe what leaders are and how they act.  But wading through these definitions, its often hard to communicate leadership to others from a simple and practical perspective.  The best way I’ve found to concisely explain leadership is framed from a book by Robert Lewis about raising young leaders into adulthood.[i]


Leadership is the most pined after attribute our Nation desires.  We need it in our places of work, military, government, civic institutions, religious organizations, and most importantly, our families. It is an action.  At its core, leadership is about realizing the full potential of both the leader and their teams to achieve collective success and the maximum standard.  

As a leader all eyes are upon you, and your behavior and decisions are closely scrutinized by those you lead.  It is important that others choose to follow you—not out of obligation, but desire.  Good leaders have four primary characteristics along with a bonus attribute.  These leadership qualities can be easily remembered through the acronym RALE+1.  Leaders:

Reject Passivity

Accept Responsibility

Lead Boldly and Courageously

Expect the Greater Reward

Do Not Have a Hint, a Sniff, or a Whiff of Impropriety about them

Leadership is about taking action quickly and confidently, accomplishing the mission, remaining optimistic in troubled times, and always being ethically grounded.  If you can follow these attributes, or at least strive to meet them to the best of your ability, you are a leader! 

We all stumble and fall at some point.  That’s why it’s called a leadership journey, and none of us ever fully arrive.  However, it’s important to have guiding principles and continuously improve every time you encounter an opportunity to lead.  Focusing on RALE+1 Leadership will turn your ideas into action.  Moreover, it provides an easy way to communicate leadership with your team.   

Throughout February, we’re going to unpack all five qualities.  Every week we’ll dive into a different characteristic and why it’s important to the men and women you lead.  We invite you to join us this month by signing up at no cost to subscribe and follow us below; you’ll receive an email with a link to each post when published.

Lead well!  

[i] Lewis, R. (1997). Raising a modern-day knight: A father’s role in guiding his son to authentic manhood. Focus on the Family Publishers.

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