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Leading with Clarity

Leading with Clarity

Leading with Clarity

The Power of a Personal Leadership Philosophy 

By John Spence 

 A personal leadership philosophy acts as a compass for an individual, guiding their actions, influencing their persona and shaping their approach to leadership. This philosophy reflects the values a leader prioritizes and serves as their blueprint for the kind of leader they aspire to become. In addition, a personal leadership philosophy is not just about self-awareness and self-improvement—it is about others; leading members of an organization, the community and one’s own family. 

Why is this important?  

A leadership philosophy provides clarity. It defines what a leader stands for and how they intend to lead. This clarity is crucial to a team’s understanding of their leader. When team members know what their leader values and how they will behave, they can anticipate responses and feel more secure in their roles. 

“When values are clear, decisions are easy” – Walt Disney  

Creating a personal leadership philosophy is a reflective process. Leaders start by identifying the values that are most important to them. What do they believe is non-negotiable in leadership? Is it integrity, transparency, accountability, or perhaps empathy? They reflect on leaders they admire and the traits that resonate with them. 

Then, they think about the behaviors that will embody their values and principles. How will they demonstrate their commitment to those values? What actions will they take to model the characteristics they have chosen? How will they show that they are a living example of their philosophy in everything they do? 

The leader needs to document their philosophy. Writing it down makes it tangible and serves as a constant reminder of who they aim to be. Reviewing it on a daily basis helps leaders hold themselves accountable for living it out. It allows leaders to leverage their strengths and be mindful of areas for development. Sharing it with mentors, peers and their team creates another level of accountability. Sharing it also allows for feedback, which can help to further refine the philosophy, ensuring it aligns with their leadership goals. 

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Many leaders do not have a personal leadership philosophy because they may not recognize its importance or be too caught up in day-to-day tasks to invest time in such reflective planning. Some may feel they can rely on their intuition and experience without articulating a clear set of guiding principles. These ideas are misguided. 

A personal leadership philosophy is a powerful tool for personal growth and team development. It is a declaration of one’s leadership identity and a strategic guide for their daily actions and long-term goals. It is not static; it evolves as things change and the demands of their role grow. But at its core, it remains the bedrock of their leadership approach, ensuring they lead with purpose and integrity. 

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