CEOs must set the tone for work and life boundaries, writes Amanda Richardson, CEO of CoderPad, who provides a “Working With Amanda” guide to others and outlines the need for employees to take action and be direct in their communications. “I like simplicity and directness so please do not sit on bad news, tell everything like it is, push back when things don’t make sense, and be candid,” Richardson writes.



One of the criticisms that we often hear, especially about elected officials, is that they “lack spine.” This criticism is not unique to politicians. Most of us have worked with people who fit that description — people who are not “leading with spine.”

What does it mean to lack spine? It means you will do whatever is necessary to keep your job. A lack of spine is a reflection of willful ambiguity. Organized crime runs on this principle. You will lie, cheat, steal or worse to keep yourself close to the center of power. You want the big boss to like you.

Lack of spine is evidence of an environment where disloyalty is the ultimate crime. Allegiance to the boss matters most. Such practices erode culture and lead to dysfunction and toxicity. Eventually, such cultures collapse but not before they wreak pain and havoc.


Stiffening the spine

The cure for lack of spine is a backbone — the courage to live up to standards that matter for the betterment of others.

One leader who personified spine was Abraham Lincoln, who acted with strength, resolve and moral authority to preserve the union. But, before we explore his example, let’s define our terms in the form of this handy acronym: SPINE.

Strength is standing up for what you believe and acting on those beliefs. “Moral authority,” wrote Stephen Covey, “comes from following universal and timeless principles like honesty, integrity, treating people with respect.”