|4 Steps to Establishing Your Leadership Philosophy|
Many leaders have a list of aspirational adjectives—inspiring, benevolent, collaborative—to guide them but little idea of how to exemplify those traits in practice consistently. Thinking about leadership in vague terms can lead to confusion not only for you, but for your employees as well.
The best way to prevent this confusion is to write a personal statement or “leadership philosophy” that includes how you think, act, react and work with others, according to Ed Ruggero, business writer and leadership teacher. These statements frequently include the following four parts:
1. Personal beliefs about leadership. Start by writing your beliefs about the role of leadership and general leadership principles, such as "leaders serve others" or "discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment".
2. What your team can expect from you. Acknowledging that leadership is a two-way street will surprise and impress many employees. In the second section of your personal statement, outline your personal credos and aspects of your leadership that you are working to continuously improve.
3. What you expect of your team. Consider how you would answer questions from employees such as “Is it OK to present you with a problem for which I have no proposed solution?” and “How long should I wrestle with a challenge before seeking help?” Most importantly, create an expectation around how employees should communicate their disagreements with you.
4. What attracts negative attention. Listing your pet peeves may not dramatically improve organizational performance, but it can help reduce day-to-day stress.
Creating and disseminating your leadership philosophy "engages people in an ongoing conversation about how we can be a better team," Ruggero explains. If you start to deviate from your commitments, the personal statement also enables peers or employees to help you correct your course.
—Adapted from “4 Questions Every Great Leader Should Be Able to Answer,” by Leigh Buchanana, Inc., April 12, 2018.