College is a Learning Lab—For Life and Leadership

Ritch Eich ’66 (Speech Communication) offers his top 10 tips on how to nurture and develop the traits of a true leader. Eich is founder of Eich Associated, a Thousand Oaks management consulting firm. His latest book is "Truth, Trust + Tenacity:  How Ordinary Leaders Become Extraordinary Leaders."


  1. Experience is the best teacher: Leadership skills are learned in the classroom, but honed in the field.
  2. Internships are invaluable in expanding your horizons: Volunteer, read widely and commit to continuing education to expand your outlook.
  3. Learning about unfamiliar subjects and points of view different from yours will help you think critically and appreciate others.
  4. Sweat the small stuff because details do matter—but don't forget to always keep the big picture in mind. Balance is critical regardless of your chosen profession.
  5. Surround yourself with people of integrity. Cultivate trust, tell the truth, don't blame others, share the credit, express yourself clearly.
  6. Find a mentor—everyone needs someone to hold them accountable. Find that person and stay in contact.
  7. Say "thank you" to people who help you along the way—and don't forget to smile.
  8. Be tenacious. Strive to always do a superior job in whatever you do. It sounds trite, but you would be surprised at how many people just plod along, and then wonder why they aren't successful. You don't get ahead by doing just what you're asked to do. You get ahead by doing more.
  9. Mentor someone: The best leaders in any industry love to share their knowledge and teach others. They are never too busy to extend a helping hand to others.
  10. Be yourself. Don't try to be anyone other than your true self, but be sure you remain open to new ideas and lifelong learning through trial and error.

Return to California Dreaming

Return to Sac State Magazine