Strategies: No-Compromise Leadership

Neil Ducoff

Going No Compromise means living it.

Ever since my No-Compromise Leadership book was published in 2010, it is humbling how leaders have embraced its thinking, behavior and methodology. No-Compromise Leadership is about doing what’s best and right for the company, its employees and its customers. It is about clarity, purpose and mutual respect. It is about taking ownership in what goes right and wrong in the company. Most of all, it means, “If it needs to be done - get it done.” 

I recently received an anonymous “Contact Us” from our website written by a demoralized employee. The message read, “How does one begin to follow a leader who believes in your No-Compromise Leadership strategies and work ethic yet does not live by them - unless it suits him? Examples: The leader overpowers or shuts down employee comments or suggestions. The leader routinely denigrates associates on sales floor, during meetings, and makes unprofessional comments about certain customers in meetings.” 


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Before you gasp in disbelief, consider that every leader has chinks in his or her leadership armor that needs fixing. Leaders strive for perfection for one all-encompassing reason - they know they aren’t. Heck, I wrote the book and I’m still working at being a No-Compromise Leader. 

Here are four powerful thoughts about living the No-Compromise Leadership mantra:

•    It’s not easy: Nothing about leading a company and people in these turbulent economic times is easy. Leaders must engage in tasks and business disciplines that take them far outside their comfort zones. Non-confrontational leaders must learn and master better communication skills to turn confrontations into coaching opportunities. Numbers-fearing leaders must learn how to read and understand what their financial reports are trying to tell them. Leaders with sharp tongues and commanding personalities must learn to temper their words and allow all the voices in their company to be heard. It’s not easy. It never was mean to be easy. No-compromise leaders learn, evolve and strive get better where they know they are weak.

•    Relentless self-awareness: As leaders, the good and bad of our personalities are exposed to the world. When we act like jerks, do dumb things, or violate mutual respect, we damage and degrade our capacity to lead as much as we frustrate, hurt or demoralize those we lead. Almost every time, that little voice in our head was screaming at us to shut up or think about the negative implications of what we were about to do. Damn that little voice is smart. Listen to it. Learn to be aware of the triggers that set you off. Learn the self-discipline of processing situations and data first before hitting your internal launch button.

•    Fish in the fishbowl: Your employees aren’t the ones in the fishbowl being watched, evaluated and scrutinized - you are. Followers need and want to trust their leaders. That’s why they observe how you show up for work, live your own rules and practice your own standards. They judge your decisions which means you need to communicate the “why” as much as the “what.” They look for and follow your passion to achieve great things. They respect and produce for leaders that believe in “we, us, the company, the team.” They become indifferent and push back with leaders that are all about “I/me/mine.” 

•    Respect and trust: Like the ocean’s tides, respect and trust flows both ways. The title “leader” simply gives you permission to lead others and take responsibility for the growth and wellbeing of the company. Respect is earned. Trust is earned. Both begin with the leader. The leader sets the no-compromise bar and lives it. Followers respect and trust leaders that openly strive to get better - and allow them to earn back respect and trust when they mess up. Believing in "No-Compromise Leadership" means nothing if the leader's true thinking and behavior is based on compromise. 

I didn’t create “No-Compromise Leadership” for leaders to dictate how their followers should think and behave. I certainly didn’t create it to be a hammer to be “used” on employees. I created it for leaders seeking a unique methodology to live a higher standard of leadership thinking and behavior. 

For more information on Neil Ducoff and Strategies, go to

Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO 

About: Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies. Since 1993, Strategies has been transforming salon and spa businesses into dynamic, profitable, and sustainable team-based cultures. Neil is a business trainer, coach, keynote speaker and award-winning author. For more information on Neil and Strategies, go to You can email Neil at [email protected]