Example: At the Johnson Space Flight Center, director Ellen Ochoa’s leadership philosophy is simple: accomplish the mission and take care of her people. “It boils everything down to two straightforward and important goals,” she says, and she learned it from fellow astronauts who were Marines.
I believe the most authentic leadership is organic. Yes, it may borrow from various influences, but your most real philosophy is as individual as your fingerprint.
Your philosophy shapes your personal leadership statement. The statement can cover how you lead and influence, what you value, what you expect from team members, what you do not accept, and/or what type of environment you are committed to creating.
Let’s look at how to get there.
8 Prompts to Your Core Beliefs and Behaviors
The following prompts can help drill down to your core beliefs and behaviors, as you can see by the examples that I have included from notable leaders.
By answering these, you will collect valuable insight that can help point to your unique leadership philosophy.
1. I always ….. (fill in the blank)
Example: “Always be fair and consistent in the principles that guide your decisions, because there will be people who disagree. If you are consistent, they will at least respect you when you make your decisions.”– Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
2. I spend time….
Example: “I’ve made a point of spending a lot of time walking the building at HUD and listening to employees.”– Julián Castro, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who describes himself as a ‘man in the crowd’ type of leader.
3. I value….
Example: “Because I have known despair, I value hope,” actor/director/author Leonard Nimoy wrote as a poem. “Because I have tasted frustration, I value fulfillment. Because I have been lonely, I value love.”
4. I am curious about…
Example: “By nature I am curious about life, and this extends to my business.”–business magnate Richard Branson.
5. I respect….
Example: “[I] respect employees [by] making myself available to try to answer questions they have. It gives me a chance to educate, but it also gives me a chance to be educated.”– U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
6. I listen with….
Example: ““I listen with my eyes as well as my ears.”–Rural physician Ferrol Sams, who became a celebrated novelist at age 60.
7. I care about….
Example: “The only thing I care about is winning. That’s all. If you don’t want to win, you don’t want to be around me.”–Los Angeles Laker legend Jerry West
8. I inspire….
Example: “I inspire youth by being that example every day of my life and sharing the consequences of poor choices and the rewards of good ones.”–Chef Jeff Henderson, the first African-American executive chef at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas and the New York Times best-selling author of Cooked: My Journey from the Streets to the Stove.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Be inspired to fill in the blanks! Go deep with your 8 answers. Which ones resonate? Hone your philosophy to its simplest form, and practice it daily. You are taking a big step closer to your leadership potential, and that benefits everyone on your team.
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to up their game. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. She is the founder of Game Changer Performance Group, which offers training and coaching programs to help leaders unleash their potential, including: Negotiation: Maximize Your Influence, which teaches business people a framework for successful negotiating; Energy: Optimize Your Focus, which teaches people how to manage their energy to achieve focus and freedom; and High Impact: Elevate Your Power Skills, which is in development now and will supercharge your organization’s performance. Sign up to receive our newsletter, subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast, and watch her TED Talk on The Secrets to a Champion Mindset, which has been viewed more than 1 million times.