10 Traits of Leadership by WD-40 CEO Garry Ridge

10 Traits of Leadership by WD-40 CEO Garry Ridge

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a virtual networking event hosted by the North San Diego Business Chamber that featured guest speaker, Garry Ridge. A native of Australia, Ridge is President and CEO of WD-40 Company, where he has worked since 1987. If you’ve had the pleasure of hearing him speak, you’ll know that Ridge leads with humor, humility, and humanity.

When he was tapped to take the role of CEO at WD-40, Ridge enrolled in the Master of Science in Executive Leadership program at the University of San Diego, a joint venture between the university and The Ken Blanchard Companies. The program inspired him to codify and clarify the organizational culture that Ridge wanted to build, and the leadership traits that would help that culture to thrive. Those leadership traits are now embedded in WD-40’s DNA, and have served the organization well as it steers through the turbulence of 2020.

Ridge’s 10 Traits of Leadership are listed below. They are both practical and inspirational.

1. Leaders involve their people. Give people the freedom to make autonomous decisions, yet act for the good of the whole.

2. Leaders are always in servant leadership mode.  Use your position and power to help others win.

3. Leaders are expected to be competent.  Establish a track record of delivering results (without leaving bodies in the hall).

4. Leaders are connected with a high emotional intelligence. If you deliver results without reading the room, success will not be sustainable.

5. Leaders exercise good judgement. Superb leadership is often a matter of superb instinct.

6. Leaders need to have a strong sense of self worth. Accept failures and welcome feedback.

7. Leaders value the gift of contrarians. Good leaders don’t surround themselves with sycophants. 

8. Leaders move forward. If one approach doesn’t work, learn from it and find another.

9. Leaders do what they say they are going to do. Don’t over promise and under deliver.

10. Leaders are champions of hope. If you believe and have prepared your followers, your followers will believe.

Garry Ridge’s list of leadership traits are short but powerful. Use them as a reminder to manage your emotions, model the behavior you want from others, and lead your team through adversity.

Question: Which of the 10 traits have you mastered? Which one can you work on today?

Driven by the premise that excellence is the result of aligning people, purpose and performance, Center for Executive Excellence facilitates training in leading self, leading teams and leading organizations. To learn more, subscribe to receive CEE News!