A couple of years ago I was encouraged to write down my thoughts about my personal leadership philosophy. I think this can be a very useful tool.
I say useful tool because all too often exercises like this stay with the person who creates them. To be sure this is beneficial for the individual who takes the time to do this. Imagine if the thoughts on the paper could be shared with others in order to facilitate clearer expectations and also provide an opportunity for dialogue. Dialogue for expectations of working relationships, a dialogue for growth on the side of the leader when those they lead disagree with what they say their values are and how they actually behave.
I have asked people who I work with for their feedback on my vlaues to see if my observations are correct. While this does make me more vulnerable, I have been able to work on areas that are “hidden” from me.
For this to truly to be a helpful tool, I have limited this to one page. To help structure my thinking I used ideas from the website www.myleaderscompass.com . Apparently, the site is built off of the book, The Leader’s Compass. Which I have not read.
My mother always pointed out how it never made sense for married people to hurt each other with insults or making life difficult. If you have to live together why not be smart about it, even when there are differences. While not as permanent as marriage I believe the same principle can apply to work relationships. Since we are working together in some fashion why not work smart together. Following is a list of values that guide me in fostering positive working relationships.
People have intrinsic value and deserve respect. I believe each person bears the image of God which makes them valuable. People are important no matter what position or opinion they hold and should be treated with respect. I will treat you with respect even if I do not agree with what you say and I expect you to do the same with me. I believe there are ways to work even if we don’t see everything eye to eye. I am motivated by mutual respect and will work toward showing you the respect you deserve.
Honesty, integrity and trust are essential in everything that is done. Character and trust are important as they are the motivating force behind all actions. I intend to work with honesty, integrity and make decisions that build trust rather than undermine trust. If you feel I have not acted this way I will be open to your correction when it is pointed out. I expect you to exercise these values as you work with me and the organization. Misunderstandings and miscommunication are to be expected, but actions that go against these values will be addressed.
Every member should commit to the mission. The mission is the common ground that provides the platform for different people with different ideas and styles to work to accomplish a common goal together. The mission is the unifying factor that provides guidelines in decision making for strategic planning as well as many day to day tasks. The mission usually takes precedence over personal goals. I will make decisions that support the mission of the organization and not detract. This means I will forego personal preferences or plans if they do not further the goals and values of the organization and I expect you to be willing to act accordingly as well. Actions that contribute toward furthering the mission will be recognized and affirmed. Actions that deviate from the mission need to be addressed in a professional and respectful manner.
Results Oriented – Every organization exists for a purpose. Results in line with the mission and vision are necessary for the continued health and life of the organization. The organization will fulfill its calling by delivering results and every worker has a specific role in contributing to the results. My contributions and yours are evaluated by the outcome. Each of us has to take responsibility and initiative to ensure whatever we do contributes to the well-being of the organization. Results need to be clearly agreed upon for planning, effectiveness, and evaluation.
People Building – People grow when they are provided the necessary tools and training in a positive environment to achieve a goal. In order to do my job better I need to be growing personally and professionally. I expect the same from you. I will provide an environment conducive to grow, learning from mistakes, and working toward strengths.
I believe the best way to implement these values is through regular communication that focuses on three behaviors.
- One-on-one meetings facilitate regular communication to encourage relationships.
- Consistent feedback (affirming and adjusting) facilitates regular performance communication to encourage effective behavior.
- Coaching facilitates regular goal-oriented communication to encourage improved effectiveness.
Building healthy relationships, even work relationships involves risk. A risk I am willing to take because in the end I think it has the potential to deepen the relationship. I hope this stimulates your thinking about how you interact with others whether it is in an official supervisory role or any working role you have with people at work or in the positions you volunteer in.
I would be interested in hearing how you build your relationships with those you work with. Have you done anything like this with those you work with?
 I include vision and values with mission in this instance.
 Mark Horstman and Mike Auzenne, Manager Tools “Basics”: The Manager Tools Trinity, http://www.manager-tools.com/manager-tools-basics (accessed May 31st 2011). I have had positive experience with this method, use it regularly and encourage others to do this as well.