What Are Your Leadership Beliefs?
Some years ago, I had the pleasure of talking with the Chief Operating Officer of a fast-growing restaurant group. At the time, I was only a year into graduate school (pursuing an MBA), and was interested in learning about different business perspectives from people who were outside of my traditional network of marketing professionals.
The conversation was fascinating and inspiring. We discussed ways in which I might be able to use my MBA after graduation and which topics in my courses were most interesting to me. That conversation became the spark for learning about and cultivating one of my biggest passions: effective leadership.
Although it's been several years, what he said still resonates with me, perhaps more than ever now that I have graduated from business school and started my own company.
Much of our conversation was about leadership: knowing what’s important to you as a leader and following through on your responsibilities – not for yourself, but for your team. He gave me a sheet – the same one all his managers received – that outlined ten basic Leadership Belief principles.
I won’t reprint all ten principles (some were quite wordy), but these were my favorite:
When you accept the responsibility of leadership, you should embrace the idea that you are your team’s servant … not that they are yours.
Follow through on your commitments to your team members without them having to remind you.
Never compensate and encourage mediocrity … compensate and encourage greatness.
“Show me you love me, don’t tell me.” Show your team you care about them, don’t just tell them.
Leadership isn’t about taking control … it’s about giving control.
He encouraged me to develop my own principles, look at them from time to time, and hold myself accountable to my core values and beliefs. Using the sheet as a guide, I thought about what was most important to me and how I wanted to represent myself in the workplace and throughout my career.
These are my leadership beliefs:
Honesty: Honesty with myself, my colleagues and supervisors, and about my work.
Transparency: My colleagues will know what I’m working on, why, for whom, and to what end. No secrets.
Passion: I fully believe and engage in what I’m doing, or I will choose another path. Work without passion is just a paycheck; working for just a paycheck will not produce exceptional results.
Communication: Clear, consistent, easy-to-understand, helpful communication regarding ongoing projects and performance. Communicate with a purpose, and in person when possible.
No Excuses: I will not make excuses for poor performance or late deadlines, especially when the fault is mine. Nor will I complain about things that are within my control.
Continual Learning: I will strive to continually learn and grow as a person and a professional. I will not miss opportunities to learn from others’ ideas or ignoring the lessons in a struggle.
Flexibility: I will hold myself to a higher standard, but also will allow myself the flexibility to make mistakes. Alternately, I will work hard, but I will give myself the time to enjoy my family and personal life as well.
Although I try to live by these words, it can be difficult sometimes to hold myself accountable and admit that I could have tried harder or approached a situation differently. It’s a work in progress, and the good news is that there’s always room for improvement.
What are your Leadership Beliefs? I strongly encourage you to develop your own principles, whether you consider yourself a leader or not. After all, a great leader is not necessarily the guy with the title.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." -John Quincy Adams
Reprinted from LinkedIn, original post 9/25/14