Five Commitments of Leadership

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The Five Commitments |
Kouzes and Posner’s Leadership Methods|

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Find your voice by clarifying your values
The first commitment of becoming an effective leader is to find your voice by clarifying your values. Finding your voice refers to developing your own leadership style by understanding who you are as a leader. You have to be self aware before you can effectively lead others. One method to better understand yourself is to ask for feedback. Receiving feedback from a peer can be invaluable to help understand who you are as a leader and co worker. Many times others see you different than you believe you portray yourself. Having their feedback and constantly asking how you can improve will help clarify how others perceive you and how you can become a better leader. It is important for those you lead to understand what your values are. For that to happen, you also need to understand your own values. Several different methods can be used to help understand what your values are. Writing a tribute to yourself is one effective method. Imagining what you would want others to say about your leadership style will help develop a style you can be proud of. Recognizing other successful leaders and their values is also useful in developing your own values. Along with knowing your values, it is valuable to frequently look back and reflect on those values. Spending 10% of your day in thought, simply reflecting on yourself as a leader is one method to help stay aligned with your values. Continuously auditing yourself as a leader to determine what techniques you have mastered and which ones you still need to learn and practice will help to continuously increase your success as a leader. From my recent experience, my peer’s perception of who I am does not align with my values and who I believe myself to be. In future organizations, I will strive to clarify my values to myself and continuously ask for feedback to fuel my growth as a leader. Set the example by aligning actions with shared values

Setting an example as a leader is crucial to portray those you lead what you expect from them. Once you have clarified your values and expressed them to your peers, it is important to constantly display your values with the actions you make. According to Kouzes and Posner, there are five values that are important to be conscious of; calendars, critical incidents, stories, language, and measurements. Calendar is simply referring to how you spend your time. Almost everyone can recall a leader who abused the role and did not spend their time working but rather socializing and not setting a good example. It is important to make effective use of your time as a leader, and for those you are leading to see you setting this example. In the event of a critical incident, a leader should use it as an opportunity to teach a lesson. Educating others is extremely important as a leader and every mistake should be a lesson learned. Using storytelling as a leadership method will help effectively deliver a message in a way that will be received positively by others. The language that is used is equally as important as the message being delivered. All of your words should be chosen with deliberate meaning. Measuring your progress or success of your group is important to keep them on task and focused on exceeding goals.

A personal audit can be very effective to ensure that you are setting a good example as a leader. The concept of doing a personal audit would have proved valuable in a former organization. I had a unique knowledge base and skill set in comparison to my colleagues, and some may have looked at me as a leader in that aspect. Sharing my knowledge and skills with co-workers would have benefited the organization and better aligned with the shared values of the organization. Lack of recognition and poor company structure turned into a poor environment for several of us. As a leader, keeping a positive attitude...
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