Home > Uncategorized > Develop a Leadership Philosophy

Develop a Leadership Philosophy

In my last blog I mentioned that a new leader must develop a leadership philosophy. So what is a leadership philosophy? A leadership philosophy tells the people around you what criterion you will use to make decisions, it contains a vision and values that allow your employees to make decisions that move the company forward without consulting you at every turn. This will make both you and them more effective in day to day operations

First, a vision is the ideal place for the organization to be. The vision should include specifics on where the organization is going, why it is going there, and a general idea of how to get there. This vision only needs to be as far as your experience and position allow you to see. The shift leader at a fast food establishment may have a daily vision where the CEO may need to look 5 years or more down the road. As the vision grows closer to reality and you can start to see the next step, you adjust and communicate the new vision.

Second, the philosophy must contain your values, those things that are important to you regardless of the vision you set forth. Values are those things you will not sacrifice even if it means you are not moving toward the vision. Be sure not to list values you do not live. If you put that you value integrity but your employees see you failing to take responsibility for your actions you have just become a liar, a very difficult place to recover from.

The shift leader I mentioned may have a philosophy of, “In order to maintain our position as the best shift we will have an average customer wait time of 1 minute or less while still maintaining the high standards of quality in our food, cleanliness, and presentation.” That way the employees know they must strive for the vision of 1 minute wait time but cannot just ball up the food and toss it at the customer in order to achieve it, they must also adhere to the standards set forth in the values.

The CEO looking 5 years down the road will have more than a sentence but it must still contain the same components and allow employees to creatively contribute by focusing their experience and knowledge in the same direction as yours. Because employees know how you think and where you intend to go they are free to make decisions. If you did not communicate your philosophy they would have to ask you about every little decision because there would be no way for them to know which one would bring the organization closer to success as you, their leader, defines it.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. August 2, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    I think you hit it head on when your talking about values. Most people say they value one thing or another and yet they don’t lead by example. I will consider someone a leader easier when I see that they lead by example. That they live by the things they preach. I believe that once you have truly accepted your values is when you can start developing a leadership philosophy. Once you know who you are and what you stand for, thats when you can develop a leadership philosophy that you can live by.

    • August 3, 2010 at 7:43 am

      Very true, things are not truly your values until you live them. Thank you for taking the time to post here!

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