Leadership Principles for the Modern Cybersecurity Landscape

by Anastasios Arampatzis

What is leadership?

Petros Passiardis, a Professor at the Open University of Cyprus, defines[1] Leadership as “the grid of behaviors we use when we engage with others to influence their own behavior.” In other words, Professor Passiardis says that Leader is a person “who has the capacity to influence some people to do what he wants.” A leader, Passiardis goes on, “is a visionary who does not want to maintain the status quo. He encourages innovation and initiatives, motivating people and promoting collaboration.”

However, leaders are not to be confused with managers. Leaders exist in every company at all levels, from CEOs and high-level executives to supervisors, project leads, and even entry-level employees. Some people are natural leaders, while others develop the skills and abilities they need to lead effectively. Either way, a leader should be guided by a set of principles to maximize the potential of their employees.

What are leadership principles?

Indeed mentions that “Leadership principles are the set of actions or guiding beliefs that leaders can implement to move them toward success. Leadership principles are a framework of actions you can take as a leader to inspire others to work together toward a common goal—they are the foundation for success.”

The operational success and performance of any organization are directly related to how leaders motivate and guide effectively their employees. “A skilled leader knows how to motivate a team, inspire people, solve problems, delegate tasks, and be the captain of the ship providing confidence and a sense of community,” says M.K Palmore, Field Chief Security Officer in Americas for Palo Alto Networks.

While there are many theories for leadership styles – transactional, transformational, autocratic, and democratic – the principles of a transformational leader will ensure an effective, efficient, and successful organization. Bernard Bass and Bruce Avolio developed the theory[2] of the 4I principles that should characterize the modern leader.

Idealized influence

The leader acts and behaves in accordance with defined, established, and well-accepted ethical codes to lead by example and display excellent behavior to motivate and encourage people.

An effective leader must have a clear vision and solid values to inspire and motivate their employees. Values are essential, and while profit is crucial to every business, it should not be the sole value that a leader works toward. Leaders help their staff understand the value of their vision and show them how everyone can work together to achieve that goal in their role. When you lead by example, your employees will realize that you are confident and dedicated, and they will want to align their behavior with their leader.

People want to work with a leader who understands their values and needs and has authentic values they follow themselves. Employees appreciate working within a great team, having flexible working hours, job security, training and development, a comfortable working environment, and a job that makes them feel like they are making a difference.

Inspirational motivation and cohesion

Leaders demonstrate a positive attitude. They display confidence, enthusiasm, and integrity, but act with humility. A leader motivates their employees to meet well-defined objectives.

Having the ability to share a vision and mission, the leaders connect emotionally with people and understand their intrinsic motivators. What drives them? What matters to them? Through gestures, words, doing things differently, and appropriately timed rewards for jobs well-done, an effective leader helps employees become motivated to achieve the shared vision.

The creation of a shared vision and commitment to the leader positively impact team cohesion and mediates the relationship of inspirational motivation leadership with team performance.

Intellectual stimulation

Leader encourages their employees to find and use clever and innovative ways to meet the organization’s objectives. “Let your eagles fly,” notes Palmore. “Eagles rarely require intervention and direction. Once imbued with the strategic vision of the leader they typically forge ahead and bring a lot of value to the team,” he adds.

Since technology use in the workplace is widespread, leaders should take advantage of the benefits that technology offers to organizations. Technology can increase productivity, flexibility, competitiveness, revenue, and facilitate achieving the company vision. With the hybrid workforce becoming a norm, technology-led communication is easier, further promoting collaboration.

Leaders should also invest in educating all personnel on the technologies deployed within the organization. By harnessing the full potential of technology, the organization can gain the most benefit. It is also essential to understand what new risks and challenges arise and how to overcome them.

Individualized consideration

Leader has the capacity to listen and understand their employees and demonstrate empathy. Leadership is about people. Leaders should be great listeners, which does not mean that they must agree with everything they hear, but they must try to make sense of it and understand it. When you listen, you could be finding out valuable, new information that may help you lead effectively.

Communicating and engaging with your team is essential to leadership. Interpersonal and communication skills are essential to any leader. Without being able to communicate your vision to others, leadership will be challenging. Leaders should have the best possible relationship with each member of their team. This means relating to all people in the business chain, from top-level management to the lowest-level positions and everyone in between.

Leaders should work to constantly improve relationships, their interpersonal skills, and how they influence the people who surround them.


In a constantly shifting world, where businesses face every day novel challenges, being able to adapt and change is essential. It takes a great leader to align business goals, people needs, and technology. Businesses led by effective and efficient leaders can stand out from the competition and excel, overcoming all obstacles and turning them into opportunities.

[1] Petros Passiardis, Educational Leadership, 2014, Metaichmio Editions, Athens (in Greek)

[2] Bass, B. M., & Avolio, B. J. (Eds.). (1994). Improving organizational effectiveness through transformational leadership. Sage Publications, Inc.

Leadership Principles for the Modern Cybersecurity Landscape
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