I came across The Leader’s Compass by Ed Rugggero in 2005. As a consummate student of leadership, this book was a call to action! I spent time thinking and exploring what I believed was important in leading myself as well as others. As a facilitator of Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner’s The Leadership Challenge, my leadership philosophy is based upon the five practices of exemplary leadership. It is a dynamic document that continues to be updated as I grow in my leadership. I’ve share my leadership philosophy with those I lead, my cohorts and coaching clients. I keep a copy of my leadership philosophy with me at all times in my journal. I refer to it regularly. I ask those with whom I’ve shared my leadership philosophy, “How am I doing?” I listen for feedback. I adjust and continue to work on my leadership.
Do you have a leadership philosophy? Is it written down? Have you shared it with your followers and cohorts? Have you asked for feedback?
David Carr’s Leadership Philosophy Based Upon the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership from The Leadership Challenge by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner.
I Model the Way
I lead in the ways I would like to be lead. I do my best to Be the Golden Rule. My core values and beliefs are linked to Micah 6:8 and bound in three words:
– Compassion – compassion means continuously seeking to understand, before being understood. It’s being aware of my self-deception.
– Gratitude – gratitude directly affects my attitude. A grateful heart knows and reaffirms the abundant blessings in my life rather than wishful thinking and desires.
– Humility – not thinking of myself much differently from the way I’d be apt to think of anybody else.
I work at being patient. I know there are two sides to every coin. I push back and seek information. I work at not assuming and most of all, I do not nurture phantom rules. I work at avoiding creating ugly stories. I am curious and continuously ask questions. I make time for sharpening my saw including, the physical, the mental, the emotional and the spiritual.
I Challenge the Process
The number one challenge for me is to find and maintain balance. I find balance by continuously examining my life. I know I cannot be good for those I lead if I am not good for myself. Socrates wrote truth, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
I believe stress is a major illness. I prevent stress by learning to simplify all areas of my life. I came into this world with hands and a mind free of stuff. I will leave this life taking nothing with me. In between, it’s “stuff” that burdens the journey. There is so much I want, yet so little I need. People remember Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream,” and The Golden Rule. Core messages help me to avoid bad choices by reminding me of what is important. I find ways to eliminate complexity and circumlocution throughout my life. I have learned to leverage. I know my strengths and focus on developing these. I find followers whose strengths are my weaknesses and leverage.
I Enable Others to Act
I understand the difference between management versus leadership. Leadership is about effectiveness and doing the right things. Management is about efficiency and doing things right. I manage time, processes, and things. I lead people. The only time micromanagement works is at a time of crisis, when people are emotional or fearful resulting in unclear thinking. There is no “microleadership.” I leave people and places in better condition than when I found them!
I delegate. I give away the power. I give people the big picture, the expectations. I let them use their strengths, gifts, talents and passion to figure out the process that works best. I hold people accountable but give up control. I understand how much communication is needed to create a shared-mental-model for the expectations. I work to understand how people learn and communicate best. I know some people are visual learners, some are verbal learners and some are experience-based learners.
I Inspire a Shared Vision
I know what life is calling me to do: To help individuals, groups, and organizations to learn, to live, to promote “seize the day” leading to reduced ignorance and reduced suffering, and enhanced living.
I am the author of my mission, the mountain I wish to climb the next several years. I have designed key initiatives to help me to focus on my mission. I set metrics and a timeline to measure my progress. My mission from 2008, was to announce to the staff of Joy Outdoor Education Center, Clarksville, OH, I would be leaving by the end of the year to work and live on purpose in North Carolina with my wife, Terri.
A leader who knows, who understands, and is inspired by his/her vision is in a better position to lead others and to inspire others to a shared vision for the team and organization.
I Encourage the Heart
I know the only things a leader can control are the ABCs – Attitude, Behavior and Choices. Most of all, I know I cannot control others. It is my responsibility to get to know others, my followers and understand them including their strengths, weaknesses, concerns, pains and worries. I cannot motivate, but I can inspire by showing how much I care and cheering people on to bring their best, to be their best, to do their best for our team and organization.
These are the leadership questions I ask of myself and of my followers:
What key functions can only I as a leader perform?
How am I doing?
Who is the customer? Am I/are we serving him/her well?
Do we know what our business is?
Are we focused on that business?
What makes us good? What costs us at being good?
How can we break hierarchy and create networks?
If you come to me with an issue or problem, please bring a solution as well so we may together resolve the issue or problem as quickly as possible.