THE LATE ROBERT Gallagher once said “A true leader is a student of people. Each individual has his own different temperament. Handling this requires study, tact and knowledge. No one size fits all in handling people.”

Gallagher’s distinguished career earned him many honors by Irish-American organizations and St. Patrick’s Day is a good time to share his 50 tenets that are known as Gallagher’s Way, a collection of his lifetime observations.

Gallagher was chairman of Arthur Gallagher and Co., an insurance brokerage based in Itasca in Chicago, Ill. He established scholarship programs for inner-city children to attend Catholic schools. He died in 2006, at the age of 83. Here are more of his tenets for personal success.

Understand that health comes first, then family and then, business. Without health, you can’t take care of the other two.

The first thing a leader has to be is himself. Over time, your skills can go up and down, so work on them.

A leader must be a visionary.

A leader learns everything that is important in his industry. He becomes a student of his trade for life.

The best leaders are people persons. They have high activity levels. Remember, nothing happens until someone sells something. Selling is a noble profession.

Leaders have a passion to be the best. Leaders focus on building a winning culture. This doesn’t just happen, leaders mold and work at it. Culture is very important, and can be a magnet for people and companies.

Leaders are moral and ethical. Leadership requires courage. They make the hard calls. These always involve people.

Leaders know that there is great power in listening. Often, you can forget the words. What’s the melody telling you?

A true leader is open and accessible.

How a leader treats people builds respect and more followers.

Leaders know risk management.

Leaders understand themselves.

Be objective. Be honest. Be open. Truth always wins in the end.

A true leader believes in God, knows how to pray and often does. Because we’ve always tried to be good people, good things happen to us.

Leaders have a need to help others. Drive out the curse of fear. Give what the client wants and needs.

Empathy for others is a huge advantage in building leaders.

Be happy. Be upbeat. Be positive. No matter how dark the hour, never show or express fear to others. As Ike once said “If you want to cry, go home and cry in your pillow, but never in front of the troops.”

A positive mental attitude is infectious. It wins and is a builder of happiness through life. The world, society, family and business are in constant change. Leaders must change with it. Leaders are creative, and invent new things and ways to improve performance and results. They are at the cutting edge of change.

Be humble. Keep ego under control. Real power comes with respect, not the position. Never do anything that you wouldn’t be proud to explain on national TV or read in the newspaper. Never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself.

Planning and execution are extremely important. Have others involved in or leading the planning process. Make it a group mission. Real commitment comes from making it their idea. Leaders learn a lot from their mistakes.

Be tough. Many decisions must be made against the beliefs of the majority. Making the hard calls is not part of a popularity contest. The worst decision in the world is the one that’s never made. Never stop learning or reading.

It’s tough to balance career and family time. A balance must be achieved. A happy spouse and children come first. Have fun. Laugh a lot. Be a participant in life. Have a life plan. Be involved in community affairs or charitable work. Helping others is hugely satisfying.

A pat on the back costs nothing and is most appreciated by the recipient. And do something for others with your money, added Gallagher.