The Four Agreements for Leaders

The Four Agreements for Leaders

June 27, 2024


Do you have an internal compass? As a leader, it’s important to have one and to set it on Due North – the highest good for your team, your company, your customers, and yourself.

The principles, beliefs and behaviors that guide your life act are your internal compass that keeps you on course to reaching your goals.

Since the first time I read The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, I knew that these four principles could lead me to success in my own life. In the workplace, they can create an environment that nurtures individual and organizational success.

Here is our reframe of the original agreements into a business context to help you lead with clarity, integrity, and empathy.

Agreement 1 – Communicate Clearly, Completely and Consistently

The original agreement, “Be Impeccable with Your Word,” emphasizes the power of words. In the workplace, clear and precise communication is vital. When you share expectations, feedback, and instructions in a straightforward manner, you will reduce misunderstandings and build trust within the team. Avoiding gossip and negative speech also fosters a positive work environment. By communicating with integrity, you can inspire your team and create a culture of honesty and respect.

Agreement 2 – Remain Objective

The second agreement, Don’t Take Anything Personally,” encourages not responding emotionally to others’ opinions and actions. In the business world, decisions and feedback should be driven by facts and data, rather than by personal feelings. As a manager, you are responsible for creating an environment where employees understand that professional feedback is meant to improve performance, not as a personal attack. Encourage your team to view critiques objectively and focus on actionable steps for improvement. By depersonalizing feedback, you can reduce workplace tension and create a culture where employees feel safe to grow and learn from their experiences.

Agreement 3 -Clarify and Verify

The third agreement, “Don’t Make Assumptions,” describes the problems that can occur when team members do not have the same perception or understanding of a task or situation. In the workplace, clarifying assumptions is crucial. Managers should foster an environment where questions are welcomed, and clarity is sought. Instead of assuming, ask for confirmation and provide clear answers. This not only prevents mistakes but also enhances collaboration and ensures that everyone is on the same page. Regular check-ins and open dialogue can help in aligning team goals and expectations.

Agreement 4 – Strive for Excellence

“Always Do Your Best” is Ruiz’s final agreement. He urges us to give our best effort in every situation. In a business setting, striving for consistent excellence means encouraging continuous improvement and acknowledging that the best effort can vary day-to-day. Striving for excellence as a leader means setting realistic goals and providing the necessary support for your team to achieve them. Recognize and celebrate achievements to maintain motivation and engagement. Encouraging a growth mindset where each member strives for personal and collective excellence can drive the entire organization forward.

Clear communication, objectivity, clarified assumptions, and a commitment to excellence are cornerstones for success in any business environment. By integrating these reinterpreted agreements into your daily management practice, you can create a more effective, harmonious, and resilient workplace.