Learning To Lead By “The Rhodium Rule”

Put on your chemist hat because I’d like to introduce you to RHODIUM.

Rhodium is a rare, hard, silvery-white, lustrous metal . It is highly reflective and extremely resistant to corrosion. It is not attacked by most acids. Rhodium appears on the periodic table with the atomic number 45 (don’t you just feel smarter knowing that?!).

One of the most important leadership lessons I’m learning and teaching right now is influenced by this precious metal. You might not be familiar with Rhodium unless you’ve recently purchased some jewelry made of white gold. Rhodium is used to both protect and add brilliance to white gold. Rhodium-coated white gold is better protected from scratches, tarnish, and makes it look more white and bright.

Basically, Rhodium enhances other elements.

Now I know you’ve heard of the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) and perhaps you’ve heard of the Platinum Rule (do unto others as they would have done unto them). I would like to offer The Rhodium Rule

Do unto yourself what will inspire the best in others.

The Rhodium Rule focuses on leading yourself in such a way that it enhances the lives of others.

It’s all about the power of example…your example.

A familiar principle is that people do what people see. With that in mind, a leader will do the kinds of things that can be observed and emulated by one’s followers. If you want to create a culture of service, you will engage in personal and public practices of service in your own life. You will serve so that others will be inspired to serve.

One of the greatest barriers to trust in an organization is caused by a leader who tells his or her followers to behave one way and then personally behaves in contradiction to that. In simple terms, the leader doesn’t practice what he or she preaches. The Rhodium Rule emphasizes personal responsibility.

How many times have we seen a leader fall or fail because of a character issue? More often than not, there is a disconnect between leading others and leading oneself. The leader has forgotten or hasn’t focused on the necessity of leading yourself first.

You leading you is the entrance exam to you leading others. If you pass the test of leading yourself well on a daily basis, you’ll find you can advance to the next stage of leading others well. But you can’t skip this class. If you do, you’ll become a hollow leader. You’ll lack depth and credibility. Your words will be shallow. Your influence will lack substance.

The Rhodium Rule requires that I make the kind of promises (and keep them!) to myself that I want those whom I lead and influence to keep. My motivation for following this rule is to make promises not only for my own benefit but for the benefit of others. As I keep my promises, they offer inspiration to those who are trying to keep similar promises.

• I keep a promise to be honest so that it will inspire honesty in others.
• I keep a promise to be physically fit so it will inspire fitness in others.
• I keep a promise to do my work with excellence so it will inspire excellence in others.
• I keep a promise to build healthy relationships so it will inspire healthy relationships in others.
• I keep a promise to keep my promises so it will inspire others to keep their promises.

Once again, it’s the power of example at work. If I’m not leading myself well, how can I expect those in my care to lead themselves well?

You leading you means you investing in you.

This sounds selfish. It isn’t.
This sounds arrogant. Yet it’s one of the most humbling acts.
This sounds like a waste of time. Then don’t lead.

It’s difficult to be a great leader if you can’t be great at leading yourself. Too many step into a position of leadership and do not make self-leadership a priority. When that happens, they’re not in leadership for very long. They burn out or they implode. They end up making an error in judgment or behavior they can’t recover from.

I encourage you to take time today (and every day) to “do unto yourself” those things that will lead to your own growth and development. If I could speak for your followers I would say the following:

We need you. We need you on a regular and consistent basis. We need you to lead yourself well so you can lead us well. The investment you make in you is actually an investment in us.

How will you apply The Rhodium Rule to your life today?


Interested in discovering simple and practical ways to apply the Rhodium Rule to your life? Download my latest book, Leadership Starts With You. This book will assist you in developing your own self-leadership skills. It’s available for both the Kindle and the Nook. Visit leadershipstartswithyou.com to take the next step in leading yourself well.