Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others To Success

John Eades

Leadership today means something different than it did for previous generations. Thanks to technology, we live in a more transparent and communicative world, and employees are demanding more from their leaders. This week on ProjectHR, John Eades, CEO of Learnloft and author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success talks about this changing dynamic, and how you can elevate your own leadership style. In this episode, we'll discuss:

  • How to build relationships with employees today;
  • How great leaders get great performance;
  • The primary benefit of elevating others; and
  • The five leadership styles outlined in Building the Best.

John Eades


“The benefit of elevating others, in being a leader that inspires, empowers and serves today is that you make a tremendous impact on the people that you get the opportunity to lead - and as a human being, I don’t know that there’s a higher calling in life.” 

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“A Shift to the People”

  • Technology created more communication and transparency, forcing workplaces to put more focus on people rather than profit.
  • Profit is still important, of course, but there’s been a more concerted effort to invest in and develop our people because they are an organization’s most important asset


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How We Build Relationships Today

  • Relationships are still key, like they were 15-20 years ago, but how we build relationships is different today.
  • Today, leaders might need to do a better job of being more vulnerable or having empathy for people -- not that it wasn’t important in the past, but it’s wanted more from leadership today.
  • The old “Command & Control” style of leadership is dying. The new breed of leadership, one that’s focused on elevating others and the people is the organization is where it’s shifted.

Great Leaders Get Great Performance

  • Great leadership is not a “soft” skill.
  • Leaders get that performance by investing in people, by helping them improve, and raising the bar to not what good looks like, but define what great looks like.
  • They do all this by leaning on those strong relationships with employees that they’ve developed and maintained.

Why Is Leadership So Difficult?

  • The Human Element: We’re dealing with human beings, and human beings are tough. Everybody is going through something whether you know it or not. 
  • Hierarchical Issues: Employees are jockeying for their position, their authority and their power, and that can make it difficult.
  • The Ground We’re Leading On Is Shifting: Today, technology changing at a breakneck speed adds another layer of complexity to why leadership is so hard. 

Leadership Defined

  • A leader is defined as: someone whose actions inspire, empower and serve in order to elevate others.
  • Inspire: Literally “breathing life” into employees.
  • Empower: Allowing people to make choices and decisions.
  • Serve: Flip that pyramid - leaders work for their people!

The Role of Leader as Coach

  • One of the primary responsibilities of a leader today is to be a coach for their people.
  • What employees want or desire from a coach is:
  • Transfer of Competence - help me get better at my job
  • Transfer of Confidence - help me have more belief in myself
  • Career Progression - help me see the role I may play in the future
  • Leaders have to equip and coach their people to develop the competence and the confidence they need to make good decisions.
  • Magical Coaching: “I have seen you solve problems like this before; go ahead and make the decision. I will support you.”

The Primary Benefit of Elevating Others

  • “The benefit of elevating others, in being a leader that inspires, empowers and serves today is that you make a tremendous impact on the people that you get the opportunity to lead - and as a human being, I don’t know that there’s a higher calling in life.” 
  • Leadership is still about performance and achieving more, but that gives us the platform and the opportunity to make an impact on our people. 

Building The Best

  • The book was released in November 2019
  • Inspired by “failure” - as a result, he studied what the best leaders do and five leaders later, that research turned into a set of principles, tools and strategies to help people elevate the way they lead. 

Five Leadership Styles

  • NOT a personality profile - leadership is a journey, so no one style is “set” within a person.
  • Each style relates to how well a leader leverages love and discipline in the way they lead:
  • Love means to contribute to someone’s long-term success and well-being;
  • Discipline means to promote standards in order for an individual to choose to be at their best.
  • “Manage” Style of Leadership (low love/low discipline): Typically thinks about themselves first, rarely does things that elevate other people, more of a “manager” in title alone.
  • “Rule” Style of Leadership (low love/high discipline): “My way or the highway”, rely heavily on the rules of the standards, not a whole lot of contributing to others’ long-term success or well-being. May get good results initially, but over time, they have a tough time sustaining it. 
  • “Please” Style of Leadership (high love/low discipline): Typically leaders who don’t like having tough conversations, strive for harmony in the workplace, they are people who are rarely ever going to get promoted, and their teams tend to underperform. 
  • “Support” Style of Leadership (medium love/medium discipline): These are good leaders, just not great. They use high love and high discipline at different times, leveraging them in different ways.
  • “Elevate” Style of Leadership (high love/high discipline): These leaders typically get results from 14% increase in employee engagement, 11% reduction in voluntary employee turnover, they get better results.  

A Sample of the “8 Principles”

  • 4th Principle: “People persevere because of purpose and not pay.”


  • Learnloft exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work.
  • Provide assessments, online and in-person programs to develop leadership skills.
  • Partner with organizations to help develop their people.

The Critical Role of HR

  • There’s no more important role in organizations today than Human Resources.
  • We need an advocate in organizations constantly talking about the human element at work;
  • Technology is important, but there are humans at the center of it all;
  • If you’re in HR, know that you’re needed more than ever!

John Eades: Backstory

  • Attended University of Maryland - College Park
  • Mr. Eades is currently the CEO of Learnloft


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