The wisdom compressed in the book of Proverbs is filled with practical life and leadership lessons for the business leader.  Proverbs 26 provides us with 11 leadership principles that can advance you in the marketplace.



1) Seek Favour with Your Boss and Honour Him in His Absence  

  v.1 “Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool.”

  • It takes a tremendous amount of character to celebrate somebody’s success (especially the success of someone you greatly desire) and an enormous amount of integrity is required to protect their reputation even when they are in the wrong.
  • Protecting your brands’ reputational value is as important as protecting your boss’ reputation, even if you don’t agree. These two things are irreplaceable!

2) Master Self-discipline before You Expect it from Others

v. 4 “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him.”


  • If you are full of yourself, full of your own opinions and speculations, how can someone else pour their wisdom into your life?
  • In the presence of someone everyone admires, never try to dominate the conversation.
  • “The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself” – Pluto.
  • Self-discipline keeps us humble, healthy, focused and productive.



3) Reward Only What You Want Repeated


v. 5 “Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.”


  • Never reward behaviour you don’t want to be repeated.  
  • Effective leaders do what is required to make the organisation successful when they act decisively regarding behaviour the organisation does not want to be repeated. The leader may see this in you, take it like a winner! 

4) Don’t take it Personal if Your Boss does not Tell You Everything

v. 6 “He who sends a message by the hand of a fool Cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.”

  • Only a fool utters his mind. Recognise when to speak and when not to. Something being ‘outspoken’ is not virtuous.
  • Proverbs tell us a wise man keeps his words in “till afterwards!” After what? After he lets passion and anger dissipate, only then can he speak prudently.
  • Samson uttered all his heart before Delilah and it cost him greatly!


5) Respect Your Boss’s Time


v. 7 “Like the legs of the lame that hang limp Is a proverb in the mouth of fools.”

  • Be punctual and if you are late, apologise!  (See my article The Integrity Of Punctuality)
  • “Employee theft” is a crime. Never steal: Money (the most common asset stolen), Time (claiming for hours you’ve never worked), Supplies (pens, computers, paper clips), Company Property (products that are sold) and Information (stealing designs or ‘trade secrets’).

6) Value The Opportunities Afforded You

v. 8 “Like one who binds a stone in a sling Is he who gives honour to a fool.”

  • Expressing your appreciation for your job can go a long way in cementing professional relationships and improving your long-term career prospects.
  • Be sincere and intentional about expressing appreciation for your current employment opportunity. This will set you apart from the rest.
  • All truly successful people are grateful people.

7) Improving Your Leadership Intuition

v. 9 “Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard Is a proverb in the mouth of fools.”

  • Learn the difference between doing things right vs. doing the right thing. The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. This is The Law of Intuition.  one of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership that I coach.
  • “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things” – Peter Drucker.

8) Respect the Law of Cause and Effect


v. 10 “The great God who formed everything Gives the fool his hire and the transgressor his wages.”

  • What you sow is what you will reap in life and at work.
  • Adorn yourself with the right attitude in the workplace; have a pleasant smile, be generous with your knowledge, avoid negative people, gossipers and lazy people.

9) Learn From Your Mistakes 


v. 11 “As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly.”

  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, be afraid of making the same mistake.
  • A mistake repeated is a decision.  
  • You are hired to solve problems, you get fired when you become a problem.

10)  Commit to Continuous Self-Development

v. 12 “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
  • Continuous self-development is where individuals commit themselves to improving their knowledge and understanding throughout their careers.
  • It is not the “Doing” that changes things, it is the “Being.” You cannot give what you don’t have.
Most employees have great potential reaching the top, but they are not even aware of their particular incompetencies. When you know what your unique strengths are, you discover your potential. This process is an important stepping stone towards making your company successful!
This is also a  possible “career part” for you, but it will require great dedication and self-sacrifice on your part. By committing to self-development and learning, you increase your ability to do your work more proficiently than what most people are competent in.
Here is where you add value and make yourself “irreplaceable.”
Learn to achieve tasks with a winning attitude and win uphill battles for your organisation like nobody else can.
The wave of success is waiting for you to ride it!