A leadership philosophy is the way we see ourselves as leaders. This philosophy guides our actions, our behaviors, and our thoughts. Our philosophies are influenced by external and internal forces. We can change who we are as leaders by simply changing our philosophy of leadership. Leadership philosophies can change as you grow to understand yourself within the context of leading.
Creating or finding your leadership philosophy means that you must explore and reflect upon your personal values, assumptions, and beliefs about leadership.
Personal values are qualities or characteristics that you value. You would rather leave an organization or step down as a leader than violate your values. Your values guide your intentions and they influence how you lead. When your personal values are clear and you are conscious of them, you create a solid foundation for leading.
Assumptions are ideas that are assumed or believed to be true. As a leader it is important to understand what assumptions fuel your leadership thinking. Often leaders are not aware of the assumptions because they are operating from certain paradigms that will not allow them to see assumptions. Reflection into one’s leadership is an excellent way to uncover assumptions.
Beliefs are ideas that we hold to be true; they shape our realities. If a leader believes that the only individuals in an organization that can make decisions is the management staff, then that belief will influence how the leader treats others. Beliefs can also be unconscious; they are for us a habitual way of thinking and acting that it doesn’t cross our minds that our beliefs may be prohibiting us.
The following is an exercise to help you create, find, or define your personal philosophy of leadership.
Exercise 1: Identifying Your Leadership Values
From the list below, pick five core values that you feel describe and guide who you are as a leader. You may choose other values that