Work 8 MIN read

5 Habits Every Leader Should Embody to Run a Badass Team

by Melani Kalev May 14, 2020

Traditional management styles have become so embedded in our work culture that we rarely stop to think if there are better ways to lead. We hear over and over the words “command, conquer and control”, but this management style is completely outdated and does not mesh with today’s modernized, equality-forward thinking. So why do we keep falling into this antiquated pattern of leadership? 

Is There a Better Way to Lead in an Organization?

John Baldoni, an internationally recognized leadership consultant and coach, says there is. 

Instead of being leader-first, Baldoni focuses on the timeless concept of servant leadership, originally coined by Robert Greenleaf in 1970. The idea is to serve your team and invest in them, versus serving your own growth and needs. Today, servant leadership is practiced as a secular concept by sharing the power and putting others ahead of you. There is less focus on power and more focus on well-being and community.

The Road to “GRACE”

It was servant leadership that led John Baldoni to his work and purpose, and eventually to the concept of “GRACE”, which is an acronym for generosity, respect, action, compassion, and energy. 

Purpose is the why of what we do—it’s what gets us up in the morning. Purpose, in turn, sparks our sense of vision and mission. Vision is our sense of becoming — where I want to take my company, where I want to take myself. Mission is our doing and our building. Usually our vision stays for generations, whilst the mission can be revitalized when companies take new directions. Purpose also sparks our value system and that is where the concept of GRACE comes in.

~ John Baldoni

GRACE centers around the core concept of our values which is belonging. We all want to belong and participate in something greater than ourselves. GRACE becomes the facilitator that works to bring us together and enables us to connect more effectively.

In his new book, Grace: A Leader’s Guide to a Better Us, Baldoni teaches you how to practically apply these universal truths to better your relationships in all types of human connections. No matter what your position is within your organization, even if you’re leading an organization yourself, these ideas will serve you well.

Leading with G.R.A.C.E. Is…

1. Generosity – the Will to Do Something for Others

Generosity is about sharing power and authority. Leaders should set the right example and sacrifice for the good of the organization.

For example, foregoing a pay raise provides an opportunity to share success with others. Or, if you ask the team to come in on Saturday, be there with them.

Generosity is not something you keep tabs on. It’s generative and there is no point system. The more you give, the more you get back. You may not see immediate effects but eventually good things will happen.

2. Respect – the Dignity of Life and Work 

Respect is about giving people the benefit of the doubt and refraining from pre-judgements. Give your team a chance to prove themselves and don’t hold them back from shining in their own incredible performance. 

It’s about assuming the best intentions of others and looking at them with an open heart rather than from a close-minded standpoint.

3. Action – the Mechanism for Change 

Being a leader means you have to act to move the organization forward. 

Action is not only about mobilizing but showing people how it’s done. Be that person who takes the first step, stands up for conviction, stands up for the team, and shares the credit.

4. Compassion – the Concern for Others and the Humanity in Them

When we talk about work, we often ignore the idea of love even though it’s there. And in the context of work, love is rooted in respect. 

As Baldoni puts it, “I care about you as a human being. I see you as an employee and as a contributor. But at the same time, I see you as a human being.”

We all have other things happening in our lives outside of work. Maybe there’s tension in our family, a troublesome child, or a complicated elder care situation. It’s important that leaders have the compassion to look at each team member as a whole person and not just a cog in the machine.

5. Energy – the Spirit That Catalyzes Us

Energy is two-fold: you can’t take care of an organization without taking care of yourself. And as a leader, it’s your responsibility to energize the organization and catalyze it toward success.  

At the same time, you must take care of yourself on all levels. You need to eat right, exercise and take care of your mental health. You are serving as a role model to your team. They look up to you, so be at the top of your game and motivate your troops to facilitate the organization in a positive direction.


Great leaders understand that giving away their power doesn’t diminish themselves as a leader. It actually enhances the power of the organization, and in turn, the leader. Hoarding power doesn’t create buy-in; it creates compliance, not commitment. 

It’s less about the leader and more about the team. Companies that practice this concept are striving and team members are growing and feeling more fulfilled.

As John says, “It’s so much better to bring people along with you by your side rather than behind you.”

While there may be a lot of division and dissension in today’s world, there is also a lot of positivity and growth happening. John’s book is a celebration of all the good things that are happening in our work culture. They are happening less system-wide and more individually, where people are looking at the brighter side.

The principles of leading with GRACE are now more important than ever. 

If you want to know all the ins and outs of GRACE, grab a copy of John’s new book – Grace: A Leader’s Guide to a Better Us.

(This article was based on a Mindvalley Podcast with John Baldoni, written and edited by Melani Kalev.)

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